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Sale of acids ban proposed

The Home Secretary Amber Rudd, pictured, has announced proposals to ban sale of acids to under-18s, prevent children purchasing knives online and restrict access to dangerous firearms. As the UK Government admits, this follows a recent rise in police-recorded knife and firearms offences, and an apparent increase in acid attacks.

The Government will first consult, including on a new offence of possession of a corrosive substance in public and restricting online sales of knives so they cannot be delivered to a private residential address and must be collected at a place where age ID can be checked.

Rudd also spoke of plans for a new ‘Serious Violence strategy’, published in early 2018. Speaking to the Conservative Party annual conference, in Manchester, she said: “Acid attacks are absolutely revolting. You have all seen the pictures of victims that never fully recover. Endless surgeries. Lives ruined. So today, I am also announcing a new offence to prevent the sale of acids to under 18s. Furthermore, given its use in the production of so-called ‘mother of Satan’ homemade explosives, I also announce my intention to drastically limit the public sale of sulphuric acid.”

A new offence of possession of a corrosive substance in public without a good or lawful reason would place the onus on the individual caught in possession to explain why they were carrying it, rather than on the police to prove that it was intended for use as a weapon, the Home Office said. The Poisons Act will also be reviewed with a view to including sulphuric acid on the list of restricted substances.

The Home Office will consult on proposals to restrict the online sale of knives so they cannot be delivered to a private residential address and must instead be collected at a place where age ID can be checked. Other measures in the consultation are to include:

– amendments to threatening with a knife or offensive weapon offence to lower the standard of proof for prosecutors
– moving two firearms (.50 calibre and certain rapid firing rifles) from the general licensing arrangements to the stricter provisions of section 5 of the Firearms Act 1968
– updating the current legislation on the definition of flick knives.


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