Tougher sentencing laws are needed for moped gangs and those who carry out acid attacks, MPs have warned.
Sir David Amess told the House of Commons the ‘depressing trend’ in such crimes suggested harsher rules were needed to stamp them out.
This comes after former Labour minister Stephen Timms revealed some parts of London had become ‘no-go zones’ because of the terrifying threat of acid attacks.
Stephen Timms (left) has said acid attack threats have made parts of London ‘no go areas’ and has called on the Government to take ‘significant action’, while Sir David Amess (right) said the ‘depressing trend’ in such crimes suggested harsher rules were needed to stamp them out
A gang of 10 moped raiders behind a £1 million crime spree across London laughed in the dock as lawyers took almost an hour to outline the 99 previous convictions they have amassed for 172 offences this week
Laws and sentencing guidelines for acid attacks and moped gangs are ‘not fit for purpose’, a Tory MP has warned.
During Business questions, Sir David asked Commons leader Andrea Leadsom: ‘Will [you] find time for a general debate – I know there was one in Westminster Hall yesterday – on new types of crimes such as moped gangs and acid attacks.
‘With this depressing trend it seems that the law and sentencing guidelines are not fit for purpose.’
Ms Leadsom said the Southend West MP had raised ‘a very concerning issue’, adding the government was ‘determined to put a stop to this type of new crime.’
She said: ‘The Home Office has been working closely with a number of partners including the motorcycle and insurance industry and the police to develop an action plan and we will be reviewing progress early in the new year.
‘On the issue of acid attacks, the Government is consulting on new legislation that would include prohibiting the sale of harmful corrosive substances to under 18s and the Home Secretary also intends to place sulphuric acid on the list of regulated substances.’
This comes after Stephen Timms made told MPs that the UK had ‘the highest rate of acid attacks per capita’ in the world.
This debate comes after Arthur Collins, the ex-boyfriend of UK reality TV star Ferne McCann, threw acid across a dance floor over two Australian model sisters (pictured). He was handed a 25 year sentence, which included an extended licence of five years
Prosecutors have said a judge should pass severe deterrent sentences on thugs who carried out moped robberies on the streets of London – as captured here on CCTV
MPs debated the response to corrosive substance attacks and he called on the Government to take ‘significant action’.
The Labour MP for East Ham said: ‘I’ve had a number of discussions with representatives of moped delivery drivers and they say there are now parts of London where their drivers are not willing to go because of the danger of attack.
ACID ATTACKS: THE LAW IN THE UK
Between November 2016 and April 2017 there were 408 attacks, of which about 21% were committed by under-18s.
Anyone caught carrying acid can also be charged with possession of an offensive weapon under the Prevention of Crime Act, which carries a maximum penalty of four years in jail.
However those carrying out attacks can be charged with GBH with intent which carries a maximum life sentence.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said she intended to ban the sales of corrosive substances to under-18s.
If a person is caught twice with acid, they would serve a minimum six-month sentence if over the age of 18, under new government guidelines.
‘I think all of us would regard it as unacceptable that there are no go areas in parts of London and parts of the UK.
‘I think it requires some significant action to deal with the problem’.
Fellow Labour MP Lyn Brown, who secured the debate, called for a toughening of regulations as she said ‘people were living in fear’.
Ms Brown told ministers their first steps to crack down on attacks ‘had been positive’ but added that they were playing catch-up because of a ‘red tape bonfire’ in 2015.
She said: ‘A number of changes were made to the law in 2015 as part of the Deregulation Act, the red tape bonfire.
‘The Act scrapped the obligation on sellers of dangerous substances, including acids, to be registered with their local council.
‘This was despite opposing advice from the medical experts as well as the Government’s own advisory board on dangerous substances.
‘I fear that these changes are partly responsible for the rise in acid attacks.’
This is the gang of 10 moped riders who caused chaos across London in a series of violent raids that saw them use an array of deadly weapons to cause damage worth more than £1million
The gang hit targets across London. Prosecutors called for severe deterrent sentences on the thugs after an ‘exponential rise’ of moped robberies across the capital
DUP MP Jim Shannon called for reforms to ensure that perpetrators of acid attacks were charged with attempted murder.
Arthur Collins (pictured), 25, was jailed for 20 years following an acid attack in a London club
He added: ‘We need to change the legislation and need to represent those people who are recipients of attack.
‘I sincerely urge that the Government takes all of this into consideration and brings attacks on par with knife violence crimes and ensures that the sentence fits the crime, which leaves a life destroyed.’
Home Office minister Victoria Atkins said she would discuss with officials a proposal to change the minimum age for buying acid from 18 to 21.
Shadow policing minister Louise Haigh also said restricting sales to just under-18s ‘was nowhere near enough’, with only one in five offences committed by under-18s.
Ms Atkins told Mr Timms: ‘I’ve listened to him with great interest and I will certainly go back and discuss it with my officials.
‘If I may leave it there and we’ll work our way through that, but I do take the point particularly, sadly, about gang membership.’
Arthur Collins threw acid over revellers at Mangle E8 club in Dalston, west London, on April 17
Elsewhere, Ms Atkins said a set of voluntary commitments for retailers would be announced shortly, with work also under way to improve the response by emergency services.
She added: ‘Mentions already been made of the sentence delivered yesterday to Arthur Collins of 20 years’ imprisonment, of five years on licence, for his appalling attack in a nightclub.
‘May that sentence ring loud across the streets of London that the judiciary will not accept this sort of conduct in their courts.’