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.
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.”