New police powers to stop and search anyone suspected of carrying a corrosive substance will be granted according to Home Secretary Sajid Javid.
The new powers will enable police officers to effectively enforce a new offence of carrying corrosives in a public place.
The law, which is passing through Parliament in the Offensive Weapons Bill.
Under current legislation a police officer may only stop and search someone if they suspect the person is carrying acid with intent to cause injury.
The public have widely shown support for the amendment following a consultation, the results of which were published on the 20th February 2019.
Results have shown that 90% of respondents, including senior police officers, back the change.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid went on to say:
“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.”
Alongside this amendment, police officers will be able to stop and search people suspected of flying drones above 400ft or within 5km of an airport.
The goal is to tackle disruption, similar to what has recently been experienced at Gatwick Airport in December.
Deputy Chief Constable, Adrian Hanstock, stop and search lead for National Police Chief’s council said:
“The police service welcomes changes widening officers’ ability to stop and search those who would seek to cause serious harm using corrosive substances.
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.
As with the range of stop and search powers currently available to police officers, Chief Constables will be keen to ensure that these powers are used correctly in a legitimate, proportionate and considerate way.”
An initiative that started in the West Midlands has seen hundreds of police officers issued with new equipment to help tackle the affects of acid or other corrosive attacks.