Labour MP calls for acid attacks to be treated in same way as knife crime

Stephen Timms called for carrying acid to be made an offence and suggested licensing the purchase of sulphuric acid as he urged a change in sentencing guidelines.

The Labour MP, who will lead an adjournment debate on acid attacks in the Commons on Monday, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I think that the sentences for attacks of this kind should be reviewed - the guidelines for sentencing.

"I think we should have tougher and also more consistent sentences for those who are found guilty of carrying out these attacks."

Mr Timms said carrying a bottle of sulphuric acid without justification should be treated as an offence, like carrying a knife, and said there was a case to re-examine when it is appropriate to use stop and search powers.

The scene after two men on a moped carried out five acids attacks in London last night.

He said: "I think that carrying acid should in itself be an offence, in the same way that carrying a knife wouldn't have been an offence some years ago.

"I think there's been a pretty effective change - I think the same change should be made for acid."

Mr Timms also called for sulphuric acid to be re-categorised so that a licence is required to buy the chemical, telling the programme: "Sulphuric acid is already covered by the Explosives Precursor Regulations introduced last year, but it's in a kind of lower category in those regulations.

"I think it should be raised to the higher category, which would mean you'd have to have a licence in order to buy it."

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