An investigation by the Metropolitan Police has revealed that acid-related crime has increased by 186 per cent in the last 15 years, with Hackney and Tower Hamlets among the worst afflicted boroughs.
Newham, Havering, Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham also have seen an increase in reported incidents.
This information was released following two recent attacks in Tottenham and Waltham Forest on Thursday evening, for which a teenage boy has been arrested. Two delivery drivers were doused in acid, leaving a 32-year-old man in critical condition and possibly permanently blind.
Statistics had shown a gradual decrease in acid-related crimes from 2002 to 2012. However the attack rate more than doubled from July to August this year according to the Metropolitan Police.
The age of perpetrators has decreased dramatically over the years. In 2016/2017, the majority of suspects’ age range was between 10 and 19-years old, bringing the average down from 27 in 2002 to just 21-years-old in 2017.
A Hackney local spoke to EastLondonLines about the increase in acid attacks in the East London boroughs, specifically his own as an attack recently took place near his home.
Northridge Abubeker, 25, said: “I don’t usually feel scared around Hackney because I take into account the purpose or intent behind the attack: it can be random but it can also be targeted.”
The Home Office is working on new “voluntary commitments” for retailers which will restrict the selling of corrosive substances such as acid and other easy to purchase harmful products.
A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said: “We have been guided by the NHS and the key treatment for these injuries is to flush the injury with lots of water. So some response cars are now equipped with five litre bottles, with a full role out to follow in the coming weeks.”
“We are also looking at a kit which would be available to every borough and as well as water would also include protective eyewear and gauntlets. We are also including a separate input into officers’ first aid training.”
He added: ““If someone is in fear of being attacked with acid, or knows someone who is going to use it, they need to report it to police or confidentially through Crimestoppers and it will be actioned and you will be fully supported.”
Has there been an attack in your borough call Crimestoppers at 0800 555 111.