It has recently come to light that Newham is a hotspot for acid attacks in which the perpetrators seek to maim their victims by throwing corrosive substances in their face.
Acid attacks have seriously spiked over the past year, and over half of all those that have taken place in the UK have happened in London. Of the 1,500 reported acid attacks in London over the past five years Newham comes out top, with almost 400 of those attacks taking place in the borough. This is about three times more than in the next borough down the list. In the first ten months of 2017, 80 acid attacks were carried out in Newham.
According to Metropolitan Police data, last year just 19% of London’s acid attack offences resulted in a charge, down from 25% in 2015. Data also shows that in 37% of last year’s acid attack cases, no suspect was ever identified.
The police data goes on to show that most of London’s victims of acid attacks are young, with more than half of last year’s being between the ages of 10 and 29. As for the perpetrators, 45% of last year’s suspects were aged between 10 and 19.
Steve O’Connell, the London Assembly’s spokesperson for policing in the capital, told The Evening Standard: “This data suggests that acid attacks, as with knife crime, are a youth-related issue. If we are going to get serious about preventing this rise we need to tackle the root cause of these attacks”.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has begun his “London needs you alive, don’t carry a knife” campaign, which is targeted at young Londoners. Perhaps his next message to young Londoners needs to be about acid attack.