Acid attacks – statements by Tower Hamlets police July 2017

The Metropolitan Police publishes a significant number of updates about policing in Tower Hamlets so rather than do a post for each one we have decided to group them together by month. Bookmark this page and hit ‘Refresh’ to see latest updates.

As the issue of acid attacks in Tower Hamlets is causing continued concern LW is devoting this page to that subject only. 

Statement regarding Acid Attacks 6th July 2017

From Detective Chief Superintendent Sue Williams, Borough Commander

“I am aware of the increased levels of fear within our community in relation to reporting of recent acid based crimes in Tower Hamlets and across London. Previous messaging does not appear to have reached the general public as well as I would have hoped. Social media spreads messaging quickly.  I would urge any reader, particularly elected members, with social media accounts to add the following facts to assist in allaying fears within our community.

Police are investigating crimes that have occurred recently across East London involving the use of corrosive substances during the commission of the offence. At this stage, there is nothing to suggest that these incidents are linked.

One of the offences, which took place in Newham on 21 June, is being treated as a hate crime and strenuous efforts continue to locate and arrest the suspect. This is only the second report in the last 12 months within the whole of London of such an incident having a hate crime link.

In 2016 there were 455 offences recorded where a corrosive/acid substance was used across London, this year to date there have been 149.

Of those 149 crimes across London this year, 11 have been in Tower Hamlets.

In Tower Hamlets we have had no race/hate crime reported involving corrosive substances. There is no evidence that any group of people, white, black or Asian is being specifically victimised. We have increased targeted patrols to combat individuals carrying and using such substances, but it is important to remember that such crimes a still relatively rare.

The police will not tolerate any attack using corrosive and noxious substances on anyone and will bring offenders to justice.

I would encourage anyone who has been a victim of a corrosive attack to report it with confidence that you will be fully supported.”

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Acid Attack on Burdett Road on Tuesday 4th July 2017

From Superintendent Peter Turner

“Police and the London Ambulance service were called at 02:13 hours to Burdett Road E3 on Tuesday 4th July 2017 following a suspected acid attack on a man and a woman.

A woman aged in her late thirties and a man in his mid thirties have been taken to an East London hospital for treatment after being attacked with a corrosive substance. There injuries are not deemed to be life threatening.

No arrests have been made so far and our enquiries are ongoing with officers from Tower Hamlets CID. Both victims are described as being of mixed race, not Asian, and the suspect is described as being a black male.

At the early stages of this investigation, this is not believed to a hate crime or racially motivated but this appears to be a gang related incident where parties are known to each other.

However, as always, all lines of enquiry will remain open. It does not appear to be linked to any other recent incidents.”

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Public concerns re recent “acid attacks” 3rd July 2017

From Detective Chief Superintendent Sue Williams, Borough Commander

“I am aware of understandable public concern regarding a number of incidents referred to as “acid attacks” in recent weeks and months in East London, including Tower Hamlets.

I understand that there was a public meeting at the Berner Centre yesterday evening at which this issue pertaining to Tower Hamlets was discussed in some detail.

Regrettably, I was not able to attend in person to listen and respond to your concerns. I understand that a significant part of this concern was whether the local crimes are motivated by Race or Hate or linked to the horrific, recent attack in Beckton, Newham.

I have received a briefing from investigators who assure me that the Beckton incident (classed as a hate crime) is not linked to the robbery in Commercial Road last Thursday evening.

During this robbery, a noxious fluid, believed to be bleach was used to incapacitate the victim causing irritation to the victim’s face in the short term. Officers responded within a few minutes of receiving the call and immediately provided first aid including diluting the substance with water. This ensured that there was no lasting injury.

The Commercial Road robbery is being investigated by Tower Hamlets CID.

There is no evidence to suggest at this time that this is a race or hate crime.

Similarly we are aware of other incidents of this type which have been investigated, none of which bear the hall marks of a hate crime.

Each crime reported within Tower Hamlets is assessed regarding its motivation or whether it is aggravated by race, faith or hate elements. This assessment is a continual process and based on the circumstances, information and evidence obtained.

We would welcome any information or intelligence from the Public in relation to these and any other offences.

I would encourage those who hold information to share it with us through their local Safer Neighbourhood Team, through the Police non emergency number (101) or in confidence through the Crime Stoppers line 0800 555 111.”

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