Acid Attacks: What’s behind the spate of incidents?

As of 2016, acid attacks are now a major occurrence across the UK, despite being almost unheard of last year. The act of throwing a corrosive substance in another’s face is unthinkable for most, but this hasn’t prevented a stratospheric rise in incidents. Regardless last year saw 475 offences in London alone. To tackle the problem, we must understand the reasons for it.

Acid attack victims are often left disfigured. The knowledge that the victim won’t go a day without the memory of that one instance of horror means perpetrators can permanently effect their wellbeing. This is much to the aid of gangs looking to strike fear into the hearts of opposing gangs often in the illicit drug trade. 

Restrictions on the sales of acid have only just been announced by the Home Secretary Amber Rudd. Recent legislations looking to tackle knife crime in the capital has meant that, ’noxious substances’ are a feasible alternative. Unlike knives, if someone is caught by police to be carrying acid, they aren’t usually subject to arrest. Additionally age limits aren’t in place to prevent young offenders from getting their hands on the stuff. All of this is set to change under the government’s new proposals.


Acids are also affordable. For just £50, a 2.5 litre tub of hazardous sulphuric is available online often without any age limits. The cheap cost means it’s highly accessible to most people, and more, transactions will likely be difficult to trace as low-cost goods tend to be bought for cash by those looking to use it to seriously hurt others.

Looking at the reasons behind the surge in use of acid as a weapon shows the need for it to be prevented. Using not only law enforcement but also concerned businesses and suppliers, this issue should be significantly reduced in the years to come.