Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Dozens Subjected to Acid Attacks in Region; PCC CALLS FOR TIGHTER CONTROLS ON CORROSIVE SUBSTANCES

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Dozens Subjected to Acid Attacks in Region; PCC CALLS FOR TIGHTER CONTROLS ON CORROSIVE SUBSTANCES

Article excerpt

Byline: SARA NICHOL and ROB GRANT Reporters sara.nichol@ncjmedia.co.uk @SaraNichol10

ACID attacks have claimed dozens of victims across the North East, new figures have revealed.

Northumbria Police recorded 63 crimes, which involved the perpetrator using acid or another corrosive substance, in the past 30 months.

Many of these offences were attacks or attempted attacks on a person, such as common assault and wounding with intent, but there were also seven robberies and six aggravated home burglaries where the suspects used chemicals to get their way.

Figures released after a Freedom of Information request revealed there were 30 such crimes recorded by the force in 2015, 32 in 2016 and one, so far, in 2017.

Meanwhile, Durham Constabulary had no reported offences involving toxic chemicals and Cleveland Police recorded 12.

Newcastle had the most cases anywhere in the region, with 28 different crimes involving acid or other chemicals.

The full list of these hazardous substances, which were used as weapons or "instruments", supplied by Northumbria Police was "ammonia, acid, corrosive liquid or noxious substance".

Detective Chief Supt Lisa Orchard, from the force, said: "This year, between January and March, there has been one offence reported in our force area and this reduction in reported offences is welcome.

"Since 2015, there have been 30 people charged with offences concerning attacks using noxious substances. In some cases, noxious substances have purposely been used in assaults, burglaries or robberies, none of which have been racially motivated.

"Attacks of this nature are truly abhorrent - we want to stress that these types of offences are not tolerated. All such crimes will be vigorously pursued by police, and we will always strive to put such offenders before the courts as the public would expect.

"Victims are our absolute priority and we will fully support and safeguard anyone who has been assaulted in this way.

"Anyone found to be using such a weapon will be put before the courts and in most cases will attract a harsher sentence when convicted of carrying out such an attack."

Dame Vera Baird, Northumbria's Police and Crime Commissioner, said: "Firstly, I just want to reassure local residents that acid attacks are rare here, and racially aggravated attacks, which have occurred according to reports from London and Manchester, have not happened in Northumbria and we will all make sure everything possible is done to keep it that way. …

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