A three year old boy was injured in a suspected acid attack in Worcester with several people arrested, and statistics indicate acid attacks are on the rise in London (though I suppose it could be increased reporting rather than increased incidents).

What is the UK doing to prevent such attacks? I know that some people talking about "common sense acid control" are making sarcastic comments about gun control, but I find acid throwing (along with other forms of violence) abhorrent.

The Wikipedia article on acid throwing doesn't mention prevention of acid attacks in the section about the UK, and the section on prevention doesn't mention the UK.

UK has one of highest rates of acid attacks in the world, police reveal from December 2017 reports the following claims:

  • The UK lacks dedicated laws about acid attacks, which makes it harder for the police to respond to them
  • Acid attacks are being under-reported
  • Legislation is being drafted, but is not in place, to restrict purchases and prohibit the carrying of such substances without justification
  • Police need "adequate suspicion" to stop attackers
  • Police can't test seized substances
  • A pilot program to test substances couldn't show whether a substance was harmful (presumably sufficiently acidic or sufficiently alkaline to harm someone)
  • Retailers have voluntarily stopped the sale of some hazardous substances, and imposed age restrictions or identification checks
  • Police will be given training over the following 12 months

Acid attacks: What has led to the rise and how can they be stopped? from July last year makes the following claims:

  • The use of acid gets a "GBH with intent" charge, whereas a knife attack gets attempted murder, meaning that the legal system encourages people to use acid rather than knives
  • That there is no legislation to prevent having the acid in a different container than the one it was purchased in

People who have committed acid attacks have been prosecuted and jailed: Man jailed for first acid attack killing in UK after nurse died of her injuries

Everything you know about acid attacks is wrong an article by the BBC which attempts to debunk what it sees as misinformation about acid attacks doesn't debunk claims that the UK is failing to act on acid attacks.

Is this an accurate summary of the UK's action and/or inaction on acid attacks, or is the media misrepresenting the situation, trying to paint the UK as a dystopian failed state? And apart from not wanting to criminalise legitimate ownership of acid, is there any reason why the UK has not acted on the issue?

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    This reads more like a rant than a question. Can you restrict yourself to one question? – DJClayworth Aug 4 '18 at 3:17
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    The "Everything you know is wrong" article is attempting to dispel myths about acid attacks and ethnicity. It doesn't seem to be attempting to address prevention. – DJClayworth Aug 4 '18 at 3:20
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    @DJClayworth Can you explain why it reads like a rant? I did say "but I find acid throwing (along with other forms of violence) abhorrent", but merely to indicate that I'm not sarcastically mocking gun control. The second question was trying to check whether the media was exaggerating the situation, while the third was trying to understand if there were reasons why the government hasn't apparently acted. If anything, I regard my question as very restrained. – Andrew Grimm Aug 4 '18 at 3:37
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    @Andrew it reads like an essay with a question tacked on the end "is my essay OK". But it also contains more than one question. – RedGrittyBrick Aug 4 '18 at 12:30
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    That case that you mentioned seems to have been a family feud, so I wouldn't take notice of what exactly they used to cause damage. – gnasher729 Aug 4 '18 at 16:11

Sulphuric acid and other caustic agents will be classified as a "highly dangerous weapon" in the government's sentencing guidelines. This means that judges should give longer prison sentences for those caught carrying it or who make a threat to use it.

In particular, a second offence of carrying a corrosive substance in public will get a minimum six month sentence. This puts corrosive substances on a similar legal status as knives.

Acid which has been prepared or packaged in such a way as to make it particularly suitable to be used against a person can now be classed as an "offensive weapon", and attract consequentially higher sentences. However it is for the court to decide if this is the case, based on the facts and circumstances of the case. If the concentration of the acid, or the amount used indicates an intent to kill, or a reckless disregard for life, then an attempted murder charge can be brought, again it is up to a court to decide this.

There has also been a retailer campaign to refuse to sell caustic substances to under 18s, and further legistlation has been promisied

(Principle source The Independent, Acid to be defined as 'highly dangerous weapon' 2018 march 18)

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