Government consults on new laws to ‘crack down’ on violent crime

Those caught carrying corrosive substances could face new prison sentences as the Home Office proposes laws aimed at tackling serious violence.

Oct 16, 2017

Those caught carrying corrosive substances could face new prison sentences as the Home Office proposes laws aimed at tackling serious violence. The measures include a new offence of possession of a corrosive substance in public without a good or lawful reason, and are part of the consultation on new legislation on offensive and dangerous weapons. First announced at the Conservative Party conference, proposals for the new Serious Violence Strategy will be consulted on including new police powers. Under the proposed changes, an offender must explain why they are carrying the noxious liquid, rather than officers having to prove it was intended to cause injury. Those convicted of the offence twice will face a mandatory minimum sentence in line with existing knife possession laws. Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: “All forms of violent crime are totally unacceptable, which is why we are taking action to restrict access to offensive weapons and crack down on those who carry acids with the intent to do harm. “Acid attacks can devastate lives and leave victims with both emotional and physical scars. “By banning the sale of the most harmful corrosive substances to under 18s and introducing minimum custodial sentences to those who repeatedly carry corrosive substances to cause harm, we are sending a message that the cowards who use these as weapons will not escape the full force of the law.” The Government will also consult on the sale of acids to people aged under 18 and restricting the online sale of knives so they cannot be delivered to a private residential address and must be collected at a place where age identification can be checked. It also proposes that two firearms – .50 calibre and certain rapid firing pistols – are moved from the general licensing arrangements to Section 5 of the Firearms Act 1968, and updating the current legislation on the definition of flick knives to reflect new designs. Other measures in the consultation include amendments to the offence of threatening with a knife or offensive weapon, prohibiting knives from educational institutions such as colleges and allowing officers to seize weapons already banned in public places from private properties. A £500,000 community fund for local projects aimed at tackling knife crime was launched on Saturday (October 14) as well as £280,000 for work towards ending gang violence and exploitation. Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability, Sarah Newton, added: “We know these crimes cannot be ended with legislation alone. We need wide-ranging action, including supporting communities to take action. “Which is why I’m pleased to announce that we are awarding just over £280,000 funding to projects across the country to help people avoid and escape a life of gangs and violence. “We are also inviting bids for a new £500,000 Community Fund to help grassroots organisations tackle the scourge of knife crime.” Members of the public have been asked to submit their opinions on the consultation until December 9.

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