INDEPENDENT GROUP Councillor Ohid Ahmed has called on Tower Hamlets Council to create a “Tower Hamlets Acid Register”, to be used on a voluntary basis by local retailers who sell corrosive substances.
Cllr Ahmed says that a voluntary register would help remind retailers that these liquids can be used as weapons of attack and they should exercise care over who they are selling them to. It would also remind shoppers that they should handle and store these products carefully. It may also discourage youngsters from obtaining these substances as spur of the moment purchases.
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Cllr Ahmed’s attempt to find practical ways of keeping the borough safer comes after two recent acid attacks in Tower Hamlets, just after Christmas.
Cllr Ahmed, who will be the Independent Group’s mayoral candidate, said, “As I have seen first-hand when I visited one of the acid attack victims, the horrific injuries often sustained from such attacks can leave victims with permanent scarring, deep psychological problems and destroy their lives. These inhumane criminal attacks impact on those who suffer as well as the wider community.
“I am extremely concerned that Tower Hamlets is the third worst borough for acid attacks with a high percentage of these attacks concentrated in a small pocket of east London in the last two years. Acid has become a weapon of choice used by younger criminals because it is far too easy to get hold of, far too cheap to buy, and most importantly far too unregulated.
“That’s why, I am calling on the Council and the Mayor to do more and urgently explore their existing regulatory powers through trading standards, licensing and other already available means at their disposal to, at the very least, urgently create a voluntary register for shops and businesses to record who they sell ‘acid’ or ‘dangerous liquids’ to, which are being used as a weapon of choice in attacks on our innocent and extremely worried residents.”
Jabed Hussain, an victim of an acid attack in Tower Hamlets last summer, who was left traumatised and with breathing problems after being burned by acid when his moped was stolen in July said, “I experienced a truly terrifying attack. We need more action so that dangerous chemicals are not falling into the wrong hands.”
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