Sharp rise in number of acid attacks in London, Met reveals

Chloe Chaplain
Acid: Police reported a rise in the number of attacks with corrosive fluid in London: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Police have seen a sharp rise in the number of acid attacks in London, official figures show.

The data, released by the Metropolitan Police, showed the number of reported attacks in London rose from 261 in 2015 to 454 in 2016, a rise of 74 per cent.

The figures also revealed that more than 1,800 attacks involving corrosive fluid have been reported since 2010.

Acid is believed to be a popular weapon for gangs as it is easy to obtain and it can be difficult to identify the attacker.

Burns: A picture of Wayne Ingold who was the victim of an acid attack in 2014 (Picture: PA)

The data, seen by the BBC, revealed that almost a third of these attacks were carried out in Newham and that victims are twice as likely to be male than female.

"Corrosive fluids" have been used in murders, robberies and rapes but more than 70 per cent of cases never reach trial due to difficulty identifying suspects or victims being unwilling to pursue charges.

Dr Simon Harding, gang expert at Middlesex University, believes gangs are switching from carrying knives to acid, because it is "not prohibitive to carry bleach" and "it's difficult to prove any illegal motive”.

He added: "A knife attack is attempted murder, but if you're caught in an acid attack it would be GBH.”