Mayor launches new charter to curb acid attacks in Tower Hamlets

Mayor John Biggs and Jabed Hussain launch acid charter Pic: Tower Hamlets Council

Shopkeepers in Tower Hamlets are being asked to help prevent acid attacks by signing a new voluntary charter launched this week by the Mayor, John Biggs

The Mayor’s Acid Charter will require businesses to ask for the identification of anyone buying products containing acid or ammonia who appear to be under the age of 18.

Local businesses are also being encouraged not to sell products to customers, they think may use the products to attack people.

Biggs said: “Acid is becoming a weapon of choice because it is too accessible, too cheap to buy and too unregulated.”

Currently, there are no legal restrictions on the sale of items like drain cleaner which are increasingly being used to attack people. There were a total of 41 reported acid attacks in Tower Hamlets last year, the third highest of all London boroughs and up from six in 2014.

Biggs added: “We are committed to working with the police and local businesses because community safety is a key priority for us.”

The charter has been supported by Jabed Hussain, a local resident who was the first victim of a series of acid attacks in July 2017. Two men drove up to Hussain and threw a corrosive substance on his face before stealing his moped.  Today he still experiences breathing problems and has begun campaigning to raise awareness about the issue.

He said: “I experienced a truly terrifying attack and we need more action to stop such attacks. I support the Mayor’s charter to call for businesses to stop selling acid to underage people.”

Shopkeepers that sign up to the charter will be trained by council officers. They will also receive a sign telling customers that they are a responsible trader who will not sell to minors.

Sue Williams, Metropolitan Police Borough Commander, said: “We have increased targeted patrols to combat individuals carrying and using such substances. I would encourage anyone who has been a victim of a corrosive attack to report it with confidence that you will be fully supported.”

Bigg’s also started a petition which outlined a five-point plan to tackle acid attacks in September 2017.


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