Finally, the Government has been forced to take action in the face of growing acid attacks on the UK's streets. Today the Home Secretary has issued a warning to all would-be attackers that they could find themselves facing life behind bars, saying that the victims must not be the only ones to suffer "life-sentences" because of their injuries.

The London incidents

In the space of a mere 60 minutes on Thursday night, Acid was used as a weapon against five delivery workers going about their trade: one of whom sustained life-changing injuries. Now, police are to have stop and search powers increased to specifically target those who are suspected of carrying corrosive substances.

It is not since 1972 that the Poisons Act has needed amending, the Government says it will now be looking at and reviewing legislation as acid, and certain corrosive substances can now be classified as dangerous weapons. In reality, it is impossible to restrict the sale of these substances, but the Home Office is currently working on ways in which they do not fall into the hands of those who wish to do wrong with them.

Why acid?

It used to be that criminals used knives and guns in attacks, but some time ago it was replaced by acid. With a knife or bullet wound although psychological damage may be present, the injury will heal leaving behind a scar, not so with acid. Unfortunately, it leaves both, a psychological scar and an all too physical one as well.

It never goes away stripping the victim of dignity and self-confidence and gratuitously degrading them in the worst possible way, reminding them of the horrors of the attack for the rest of their lives. Once only certain communities used it as a way of seeking revenge, but the alarming fact is that now children as young as 12 have been found with it in their possession in plastic bottles in the schoolyard.

On Monday there is to be a House of Commons debate led by the Labour MP Stephen Timms, looking at some proposals that could be brought in to deter such attacks, including life sentences. Something certainly has to be done to combat this growing, and cowardly crime as attacks rose from 183 in 2013, to 504 in 2017 across the country with police forces saying that these are just the tip of the iceberg as so many of these attacks go unreported. In London alone in the past year, there have been some 458 cases, up 327 on the previous year