Ministers reportedly boasted they were ‘cutting red tape’
THE Government made it easier to buy dangerous acids used in recent attacks – ignoring expert advice, it has been claimed.
The Independent reports changes in the Deregulation Act 2015 got rid of the need for sellers of dangerous substances, including acids, to be registered with their local council.
Medical experts and the Government’s own advisory board, the since-abolished Poisons Board, reportedly warned against the move.
Conservative ministers claimed “cutting” the “red tape” of regulation, licensing and registration would save businesses £20,000 a year.
Now, MPs are said to be under pressure to make it more difficult for people to get their hands on acids following a stream of attacks.
Currently, sellers of so-called ‘reportable substances’ only have to tell authorities about someone buying the substance if they have “reasonable grounds” to believe the sale is suspicious.
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Such grounds include suspecting the chemical is meant for an “illicit” use – for example if the customer refuses to give ID or pays in an “unusual” way.
But campaigners believe this deregulation played a role in the recent spate of acid attacks.
Jaf Shah, executive director of Acid Survivors Trust International, told the Independent: “If tighter controls and legislation and stricter regulation had been introduced then there’s a real possibility that some of the attacks may have been prevented.”
There have been 431 acid attacks in London alone over the last year – a 65 per cent rise.
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