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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-11168: Rachael Hamilton (Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 September 2017

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-10337 by Michael Matheson on 10 August 2017, what plans it has to record centrally the number of violent attacks in which acid or other corrosive substances are used, and what discussions it has had with the UK Government regarding the action plan that is being developed to tackle such crime.

Answered by: Annabelle Ewing 25 September 2017

The recording of data relating to criminal offences is governed by the Scottish Crime Reporting Board. Members of this Board, which includes Police Scotland, Scottish Police Authority, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, the Crown Office, British Transport Police and representatives of the Defence, have responsibility for deciding whether any changes should be made in this area.

The criminal law in Scotland is clear in that anyone using acid or other corrosive substances to attack another person can be convicted of assault and receive up to life imprisonment. The sentence in any given case is a matter for the court.

While there is no specific evidence to suggest incidences of attacks using corrosive substances are increasing in Scotland, they are clearly an horrific matter whenever they do occur. Scottish Government officials have recently met with UK Government officials to discuss the actions announced by the UK Government in July. We understand that the actions by the UK Government are a specific response to the recent increase in the number of such attacks, especially in London. Further discussions will be held including specifically possible action in relation to online sales noting that any legislative steps in this area may well be outwith the competence of the Scottish Parliament given it would relate to the operation of the internet.