London is increasing looking to be in the onset of another kind of serious criminal attack or assault mode following closely in the steps of gun and knife crime.
There’s been a steep rise in acid attacks in recent years.
The Metropolitan Police said there were 261 such attacks, but last year that soared to 454. However, the capital has been seeing increasingly more frequent occurrences of acid attacks in recent months.
No fewer than at least 5 attacks have been reported in just over 1 month with the latest being an attack on a police officer by a couple of youths in Walthamstow.
Last month, a suspect with face tattoos was being hunted by police after two cousins were sprayed with ‘acid’ as they were celebrating a 21st birthday. Resham and Jameel, who were left with ‘life changing’ injuries, had stopped at traffic lights when they were approached by a man who threw the toxic substance at Resham through the window.
The attacker then ran around the car to throw more acid at Jameel before fleeing the scene in Tollgate Road, Canning Town, east London.
Also in June, a victim in his mid 20s, was knifed in the arm and had a ‘noxious substance’ thrown at him on Barking Road, at around 12.30pm on Friday.
He was rushed to hospital but thankfully, his injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.
In February, four boys under the age of 16 were arrested following two separate acid attacks over the space of three days.
The first incident saw two teenagers and a man needing hospital treatment.
They allegedly had a ‘noxious substance’ thrown in their faces at a childrens’ football match in Dagenham, east London.
A 16-year-old boy was arrested and later released on bail.
Three days later, a trio of boys aged 12, 13 and 15-years-old were arrested after an alleged acid attack at a school, also in Dagenham.
In the same month, A “corrosive substance” believed to be acid was thrown at a man at on the platform of Barking station during the morning’s rush hour.
In April, A total of 20 suffered various burns after being hit with a substance that was sprayed into the crown in a busy night club in Essex. The substance was later positively tested as acid. At least 1 person was blinded by the attack and many others suffered serious burns. Reality TV star Arthur Collins and a couple of others were arrested in connection with the attack.
Violent gangs are thought to be behind a rise in the number of acid attacks being reported to police and recorded by hospitals.
Domestic violence, random attacks and burglaries were also among the occasions when acid was thrown. Acid has also been known to be used to settle scores or conflicts between women. In 2014, Mary Konye, 22, was convicted of spraying acid in the face of former friend Naomi Oni, also 22, outside her home. Oni was scarred for life.
Many from the Muslim UK communities are of the opinion that acid attacks are hate crimes against Muslims in the country but so far, enough figures haven’t been obtained by the police to substantiate this claim.
Domestic products such as drain cleaners and sulphuric acid are easy to purchase, cheap and are not subject to controls. It is thought gangs use them as a way of humiliating and marking victims for life.
A hospital worker was sprayed in the face with acid by moped muggers outside a hospital where three other burns victims had been treated in the space of an hour.
Syed Nadeem, 44, was leaving Whipps Cross when four masked men on two mopeds screeched towards him, one shouting: “Give me your money or I’ll cut your throat.” They squirted a liquid at the father-of-three and snatched his rucksack, which contained just hospital scrubs and a phone charger.
Mr Nadeem said: “One of them pulled a drinking bottle out of his waistband. I raised my arms so most of it hit my jacket but it splashed on to my face. I didn’t know what it was until I felt the burning sensation.”
The gang kicked and punched the junior medic as he lay on the road next to the hospital car park in James Lane, Leytonstone, at 10pm on June 8. He fled back to the hospital where horrified colleagues stripped him down and washed out the burns to his face and arms.
Mr Nadeem revealed NHS staff had been sent a warning on WhatsApp after A&E doctors treated three other victims for acid burns in the space of an hour. He said: “We got a text message saying people had been knocking on car windows and when you open it they throw acid in.
And just yesterday, a man was rushed to hospital after thugs squirted bleach at a driver before stealing his car – the second attack in the area in just one week.
The attack happened when a car pulled up alongside the victim’s vehicle before one of the occupants squirted a noxious substance at the driver, police said.
Although there has not yet been any official statement from the police or any government quarters, doctors have expressed concern regarding this growing trend. There is also the fear that the police are not taking these attacks as seriously as they do not always involve loss of life like guns or knives attacks
**Members of the public are advised to be vigilant at all times especially when stopping at traffic lights or in slow moving traffic.