‘It's terrible that it's going on’: Londoners on rise in corrosive substance attacks

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Data from the Met Police showed a 45% rise in acid attacks in London from 2021 to 2022.

Londoners have shared their concerns following an attack with a corrosive substance which left 12 people injured.

A 31-year-old mother was left with life-changing injuries - and her two children aged eight and three were also injured - following an attack with an alkaline substance in Clapham on January 31. Following an extensive manhunt police believe the perpetrator Abdul Ezedi to be dead.

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A further incident occurred just over a week later, where a man was tasered by police after allegedly threatening people with an unknown substance on a bus in Croydon.

Emergency services - including workers in chemical suits - stormed the bus when it stopped outside homes on the evening of February 11. Police say a man was arrested but the substance was found not to be harmful.

Chemical attacks, where corrosive substances are used to cause substantial harm and disfigurement to victims are on the rise in London.

Data from the Met Police showed a 45% increase in acid attacks in London in one year, up to 107 in 2022 from 74 in 2021.

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According to the figures released by the charity Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI), London had the second highest number of recorded attacks in England and Wales in 2022 after Northumbria.

We spoke with Sydenham residents to see whether the recent chemical attacks in the capital have impacted their feelings of safety.

Sydenham resident Khadija said she's concerned about the recent attacksSydenham resident Khadija said she's concerned about the recent attacks
Sydenham resident Khadija said she's concerned about the recent attacks

Khadija said she is concerned by the recent attack.

“It did happen years ago and for it to happen again," she said. "There’s a lot of things going on in the world right now. A lot of people aren’t really in good places so they do anything they can for attention. 

“I’m a bit more cautious on the roads if I’m being honest, I mainly stay at home or go to the gym.”

Mark said he is not concerned about his safety.

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“I personally have been lucky. I’ve never been a victim of any crime or had any issues on the street in London,” he told LondonWorld.

“Of course you do hear about it. Considering the size of London I think we're a relatively crime free community but obviously there are going to be people who are struggling with mental health and will carry out these activities.”

Sydenham resident Vanessa said its "terrible" what's going onSydenham resident Vanessa said its "terrible" what's going on
Sydenham resident Vanessa said its "terrible" what's going on

Vanessa said she was aware of attacks but feels very safe in London.

“It's terrible that it's going on. I’ve never really felt any danger when I’ve been in London myself,” she said. “I’ve always felt very safe wandering around but I know there is a lot of knife crime in some areas particularly for young men it's more of a danger.

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“One of the most frightening things is an acid attack but I think it's fairly rare. Given the numbers of people that are around it's not something I’m going to worry personally about but it's terrible for the victims.”

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