The government has banned people possessing strong sulphuric acid without a valid reason as part of its drive to tackle acid attacks and violent crime.
The change, which came into force today (1 November), is one of the 61 commitments within the government’s Serious Violence Strategy, which range from early intervention and prevention through to tough law enforcement measures, to make our communities safer.
It is now a criminal offence for members of the public to possess sulphuric acid above 15% concentration without a licence, with offenders facing a 2-year prison sentence and an unlimited fine.
Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability, Victoria Atkins said:
Acid attacks are utterly appalling crimes and we are determined to put a stop to them.
Sulphuric acid can be a very dangerous substance. We are taking this threat seriously and are making it harder to possess and purchase corrosive substances.
The changes we have introduced will help to ensure that sulphuric acid is kept away from those who mean harm. I am sure that all retailers will enforce the new restrictions.
Since 1 July 2018, under changes to the Poisons Act, members of the public wishing to import, acquire or use sulphuric acid above 15% have required a Home Office licence.
Applicants need a legitimate purpose for a licence and must disclose any relevant health issues and previous criminal offences. Retailers failing to check for a licence face 2 years in prison and an unlimited fine.