British Home Secretary announces ban on carrying sulfuric acid used in attacks

British Home Secretary Amber Rudd addresses a Conservative Party conference in Manchester. In her keynote speech on Tuesday, she ordered a ban on carrying sulfuric acid, used by gangs to attack pedestrians, as well as a ban on sale of acid to those under 18. Photo by Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

Oct. 3 (UPI) — British Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced a crackdown Tuesday on sulfuric acid, which gangs have used in recent attacks.

The actions will ban anyone under the age of 18 from purchasing the substance and prevent individuals from carrying sulfuric acid in public if they don’t have a “good reason,” she said. They are among a number of security initiatives Rudd announced Tuesday.

Rudd told a Conservative Party conference in Manchester: “Acid attacks are absolutely revolting. You have all seen the pictures of victims that never fully recover. Endless surgeries. Lives ruined. So today, I am also announcing a new offense to prevent the sale of acids to under 18s. We are going to stop people carrying acid in public if they don’t have a good reason.”

Sulphuric acid is also used to manufacture some types of homemade explosives, she added.

Earlier this year, the government said it sought ways to end acid attacks, in which gangs traveling on mopeds, largely in London, splash corrosive sulfuric acid into the faces of random pedestrians.

Rudd announced numerous other policy changes during her speech.

They include a ban on certain types of knives and a ban on children buying knives online, longer prison terms for those convicted of repeatedly viewing extremist material online and a $795,000 government investment in new technology to find and quickly remove indecent images of children online.

She added that British security agencies foiled seven terrorist plots thus far in 2017. Rudd also called on social media and tech companies — including Facebook, Google, Twitter and Microsoft — to “honor your moral obligations” to more involve themselves in combatting terrorism online.


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