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Dame Vera Baird backs national petition

6th July 2017

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird QC, is backing a national petition calling on the Government to regulate all acids which could be used to attack and disfigure.

Newcastle City Centre Councillor, Dipu Ahad, who is leading the petition is highlighting that hydrochloric acid can be bought by anyone and the Government needs to take immediate action to prevent this substance from being so readily available.

In the UK, it’s been reported  that a high percentage of attacks are male-on-male, with gang members increasingly using acid as an easily-obtained weapon.

Worldwide, approximately 80 per cent of acid attacks are by men on women, often in revenge for spurned sexual advances or marriage proposals.

The petition currently has 4,067 supporters and will need 10,000 signatures for a Government response.

Dame Vera Baird said: “Firstly, I just want to reassure local residents that acid attacks are extremely rare here and racially aggravated attacks which have occurred according to reports  from London and Manchester have not happened in Northumbria and we will all make sure everything possible is done to keep it that way.

“I’m surprised such regulation isn’t in place already – it’s nonsensical and I fully support this petition – copycat attacks will not be tolerated here. Attacks of this nature are abhorrent and whether used in gang violence, burglaries, or as part of hate crime or domestic abuse incidents, all reports will be taken extremely seriously – those responsible need to be locked up.

“It’s absolutely essential that the Home Office does something proactive to bring this crime under control – with regulations in place to make these substances harder to buy, some of these horrific attacks could be prevented – it’s a no-brainer.”

Cllr Dipu Ahad, said: ” It is absolutely disgusting to see the rise of these cowardly acid attacks in the UK, which the aim is to intentionally disfigure, which has a devastating effect on the victims.

“The sad reality is that Acid of that type, in liquid form can be purchased by anyone, and there is no regulation which I find bizarre and not acceptable.

“Therefore it is reassuring that any possible risk of copycat acid attacks  in our region is already on the agenda of our Police & Crime Commissioner Vera Baird. The public will be reassured that she is taking this matter seriously, and she will be helped by people signing my petition to fill in this worrying gap in regulation”