Over recent weeks there have been a significant number of acid attacks reported in the media. Victims of these attacks suffer horrific physical and psychological injuries which will see their lives altered forever.
Statistics from 2016 indicate that noxious or corrosive fluids, including but not limited to acid, were used in London in 454 crimes in 2016, 261 in 2015 and 166 in 2014.
In June 2016, I raised this issue in the House of Commons and sought assurances from the Home Office Minister. I asked that appropriate resources be made available to tackle the problem and asked her to ensure that deterrent sentences were imposed on offenders.
Earlier this month, the Home Secretary announced a wide ranging review of the laws that cover these attacks and the response from the criminal justice system. This includes existing legislation, access to harmful products and the support offered to victims.
It is essential that this review takes place quickly and its recommendations need to act as a strong deterrent to would-be offenders.
Whilst the law allows for life sentences to be given to those who injure victims, the review needs to focus on the way in which sentences are imposed for the possession of such substances, which is currently limited to 4 years imprisonment and the way in which certain kinds of acids are sold.
During a recent debate on this issue, the Minister concluded by saying there is simply no place in 21st-century Britain for such hate-filled, utterly devastating attacks and I am sure we all support her words.