Legislation on acid and bleach in the UK

Friday, 28 July 2017

Acid attacks in the UK have gained prominence due to attacks in London, leading to MPs discussing whether to introduce tougher penalties for the terrible crime in Parliament. Campaigners are calling for an age limit to be introduced on the sale of dangerous liquids like bleach as currently there is no age restriction on the corrosive products.

At Under Age Sales, we welcome the government’s proposed changes to introduce age restrictions for bleach and acid.

Selling products such as alcohol, tobacco- or in light of the recent acid attacks, acid or bleach- to a young person, cannot just have a damaging effect on their life, but can impact the wider community, as seen last week.

Currently, the regulation of corrosive and dangerous substances for under 18’s is not adequate and needs to urgently be assessed. There has been significant de-regulation in this field over the past couple of years. From the Petroleum (Consolidation) Regulations 2014, which came into force in October 2015 to the Control of Poisons and Explosives Precursors Regulations 2015, which abolished the Part II Poisons Licensing Regime, the law in the field of preventing children getting hold of offensive weapons – which should include chemicals – is very confusing and it has been made easier for young people to access these life changing materials.

Whilst regulations are currently on the side of the customer, the devastating impact of the recent acid attacks should be restricted by retailers, just as anti-social behaviour or criminal damage whilst drunk can be. Until new legislation is passed, retailers need to act as guardians, preventing the sale of any products that may harm an individual or community, to someone who may use them in such a way.

Following the deregulation of the Part II Poisons Licensing Regime in 2015, whilst young people can legally buy these corrosive substances, retailers are not obliged to complete a sale, regardless of the person’s age, if they feel the use of the products will be with malicious intent.

Retailers need to be trained, in order to know their rights, and feel confident in refusing a sale if they believe there will be a negative impact on the customer, or the wider community, such as in the case of last week’s attacks.

For more information on the training available for you and your team, visit: https://www.underagesales.co.uk/learning.html