30 December 2017:
Independent Mayoral Candidate Cllr Ohid Ahmed calls for ‘Tower Hamlets Acid Register’
Independent Mayoral candidate and the former statutory Deputy Mayor, Cllr Ohid Ahmed, is urging the Tower Hamlet Council to use existing regulatory powers to immediately create a ‘Tower Hamlets Acid Register’ on voluntary basis for shops and businesses to record who they sell ‘acid’ or ‘dangerous liquids’ to, which are being used in attacks on innocent residents.
Shadow Cabinet Lead for Resources, Community Safety and Policing is also urging that the Council ensure that acid and potentially dangerous liquids are not sold to under 21s in the aftermath of two confirmed horrific acid attacks in Tower Hamlets in a quick succession. Ohid’s call came after a woman walking alone – and separately a man – were both attacked with acid and dangerous liquid within a short space of two hours in Canary Wharf ward, Isle of Dogs, Tower Hamlets on the evening of 27 December 2017.
Independent Mayoral Candidate, Cllr Ohid Ahmed, said “As I have seen first-hand when I visited one of the acid attack victims, the horrific injuries often sustained from such attacks can leave victims with permanent scarring, deep psychological problems and destroy their lives. These inhumane criminal attacks impact on those who suffer as well as the wider community. I am extremely concerned that Tower Hamlets is the third worst borough for acid attacks with a high percentage of these attacks concentrated in a small pocket of east London in the last two years. Acid has become a weapon of choice used by younger criminals because it is far too easy to get hold of, far too cheap to buy, and most importantly far too unregulated. That’s why, I am calling on the Council and the Mayor to do more and urgently explore their existing regulatory powers through trading standards, licensing and other already available means at their disposal to, at the very least, urgently create a voluntary register for shops and businesses to record who they sell ‘acid’ or ‘dangerous liquids’ to, which are being used as a weapon of choice in attacks on our innocent and extremely worried residents.”
Cllr Maium Miah, Canary Wharf ward, where both recent acid attacks took place, said: “There were two separate acid attacks in my ward on the Isle of Dogs on Wednesday evening 27th December. The Islanders are rightly very concerned and worried. We have been campaigning on this serious issue since summer 2017 to get some action and attention. One should only be allowed to purchase these dangerous substances with a licence or using a verifiable professional or trade identification. The person purchasing should go through checks before. Many attacks could have been stopped if there were controls that made it harder to buy which also meant we knew more about people buying it. Residents have been raising this issue with me along with their serious concerns about the general crime and anti-social behaviour situation and I will continue to make representations on their behalf with a view to getting these up on the agenda and addressed.”
Jabed Hussain, another Tower Hamlets acid attack victim in July 2017, who was left traumatised and with breathing problems after being burned by acid when his moped was stolen in July said: “I experienced a truly terrifying attack. We need more action so that dangerous chemicals are not falling into the wrong hands.”