In UK, six-month jail term for possession of corrosive acid
The new legislation would make it an offence to possess a corrosive substance in public and any individual caught with the substance would have to prove they had good reason for possessing it.world Updated: Oct 14, 2017 15:27 IST
The UK government is to impose a minimum six-month jail sentence on anyone caught carrying corrosive substances like acid in public twice as part of efforts to tackle such crimes.
The new legislation would make it an offence to possess a corrosive substance in public and any individual caught with the substance would have to prove they had good reason for possessing it.
“We treat it as seriously as we treat knives. So we are introducing this possession offence with a similar regime to that of knives so that if you are caught a second time in possession you have a mandatory sentence,” said UK Home Office minister Sarah Newton.
The new legislation proposals have been released as part of a Home Office consultation document on Saturday and will come into effect by the end of the year.
The consultation document says it is not intended that “corrosive substance” will be defined in legislation, as the offence “must be flexible enough to cover a range of possible situations: from someone possessing a corrosive substance in a public place that if used as a weapon can leave life-changing injuries; through to someone using a less harmful corrosive substance which if used as a weapon can still be very unpleasant to the victim but the effect is not lasting”.
A new offence to stop the sale of acids and the most harmful corrosive substances to people younger than 18 is also a part of the consultation process.
UK police recorded 408 attacks using corrosive substances between November 2016 and April this year.
“The use of corrosive substances as a weapon is centuries old, but whilst the number of offences is relatively small, we are concerned about its increasing use as a weapon,” the home office consultation says.
The proposals also cover online retailers if they deliver knives to a buyer’s home, in a measure aimed at clamping down on the sale of blades to children and teenagers.
The steps form part of a drive to tackle violent crime following a surge in offences recorded by police.