Acid attacks on the increase in Hertfordshire according to police data

Aaron Boyce, 19, and Dwane Matterson, 26, were jailed for their parts in an aggravated burglary in H

Aaron Boyce, 19, and Dwane Matterson, 26, were jailed for their parts in an aggravated burglary in Hitchin in which the victim was sprayed with acid.. Picture: Herts police - Credit: Archant

Acid attacks are on the increase in Hertfordshire, according to police data released under the Freedom of Information Act.

There has been an alarming spike nationally in the use of corrosive liquids to maim victims in both targeted and random attacks, and such sickening acts - commonly referred to as acid attacks - are also steadily on the rise in our county.

In 2013, just one acid attack was reported to Herts police, and three were reported the following year. This rose to eight reported acid attacks in 2016 and a high of nine last year.

Crimes involving acid attacks in Hertfordshire include robbery, threat to kill and assault occassioning actual bodily harm.

In December, the Comet reported how two members of a gang who burgled a house in Hitchin’s Roundwood Close and sprayed their victim with acid had been sentenced to a total of 32 years behind bars.

During the terrifying ordeal, the victim was sprayed in the face, causing burns to his back, neck and head.

A spokesman for Herts police said: “The use of corrosive substances to commit acts of violence is an extreme violent crime that aims to cause lasting physical and emotional damage to victims.

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“As with other police forces, we are dealing with a number of cases and we are continuing to collect data from across England and Wales to understand the scale and extent of these attacks and develop our ability to support and safeguard victims.

“While it is virtually impossible to ban the sale of all corrosive substances as many are household products available over the counter at supermarkets and DIY stores, including for example bleach and drain cleaner, Hertfordshire Constabulary is working closely with the Home Office and retailers themselves to determine how we can enhance our intelligence picture to keep these products from people who intend to cause harm.”

Rachel Kearton, the National Police Chiefs Council’s lead on corrosive attacks, said the UK now has one of the highest rates of recorded acid and corrosive substance attacks per capita in the world and that this appears to be rising.

She is leading research by the NPCC into trends and patterns of acid attacks nationally and is due to issue a report on it by mid-February.