High street stores restrict sales of corrosive substances

Some of the best known retailers in the UK have pledged to control the sale of acids and other corrosive substances in a voluntary effort to address a crime that is on the increase [see earlier story].

Morrisons Supermarket, Wickes, B&Q, Tesco, Screwfix and the Co-op are among the shops to sign up to the government's Acid Attack Action Plan and they will ban the sale of corrosive substances to under-18 year olds.

The government has also commissioned Leicester University to look into the motivation for acid attacks and the mind set of offenders who use acid as a weapon as well as how the substances are bought and carried.

BCRP Comment

It makes sense to limit the sale of products that can not only be used as offensive weapons but carry health and safety risks in their own right. Certainly under 18 year-olds should not be able to buy them freely. But only 1 in 5 of acid attacks are perpetrated by that age group so this is by no means a solution to the problem and, of course, online sales are unrestricted. Nevertheless coupled with much tougher sentences for people using and importantly carrying corrosive substances with intent, it is a step in the right direction.