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Islington urges local shops not to sell acid to youngsters

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Cllr Andy Hull, Executive Member for Finance, Performance and Community Safety, blogs about why Islington Council is calling on local shops to regulate the purchase of corrosive substances and acid.

Islington Council has recently urged retailers in the borough that sell corrosive substances to adopt a ‘Challenge 25’ approach.

Challenge 25 came about because of the difficult task of determining the age of young people trying to purchase age-related goods.

Under the Challenge 25 scheme, customers attempting to buy age-restricted products are asked to present ID to prove their age if, in the retailer's opinion, they look under 25. The scheme is already widely used successfully across the UK for products such as alcohol and tobacco.

Islington Council is now calling on shops in the borough to use the approach to regulate the buying of corrosive substances and acids. There is currently no legal age restriction on the sale of strong acids or such substances. The Challenge 25 approach would see retailers volunteering only to sell acids to over-18s.

We have also called on retailers not to stock corrosive substances in locations where they can easily be stolen, such as shop entrances.

We have all seen the devastating effects of acid attacks across London. Adopting the good-practice policy of Challenge 25 would help alongside the call for tighter legal restrictions on the sale of acids and corrosive substances.

In order to get the word out, Islington has distributed leaflets to local shops containing advice about selling corrosive substances, made the leaflet available to local trade associations and publicised it via the council’s website for the wider public to see.

We support tougher penalties for those who use acid and corrosive substances as a weapon. It ruins lives. If retailers in Islington adopt our advice, this should reduce the risk of these destructive and dangerous products being sold to young people in our borough.

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Cllr Andy Hull, Executive Member for Finance, Performance and Community Safety

Leaflet on the sale of corrosive substances that has been distributed to Islington shops

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