The Home Secretary Sajid Javid has announced that the Government will be giving Police new powers to stop and search anyone suspected of carrying a corrosive substance in public.
The new legislation is passing through Parliament in the Offensive Weapons Bill and will enable Police officers to effectively enforce a new offence of carrying corrosives in a public location.
The proposal to extend stop and search was widely supported during a public consultation in which 90 per cent of respondents, including senior police officers, back the change.
The current law means that police can only stop and search people they suspect of carrying acid with intent to cause injury, but it has proved difficult to enforce as it is hard to prove someone intended to cause injury.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Anyone who carries acid to maim and disfigure others is a coward who deserves to face the full force of the law.
“That is why we are giving police officers greater powers to help bring them to justice and protect the public from their sickening crimes – which can leave victims’ with life-changing injuries.
“The police are clear stop and search is one of the most important tools they have in the fight against serious violence – I will continue to give them the support they need to do their vital work.
The Police service has welcomed the increase in powers in their bid to target those people who seek to cause serious harm with the use of corrosive substances.
Deputy Chief Constable, Adrian Hanstock, stop and search lead for the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said: “Identifying and disrupting those individuals through the controlled use of stop and search powers is an important way in which we can keep the public safe.”