Under 18s in the United Kingdom will be banned from buying acid, Amber Rudd has announced, in a bid to crack down on the "revolting" trend of acid attacks on members of the public.

In a speech to the Conservative party conference in Manchester the Home Secretary vowed to do more to curb the sale of sulphuric acid, used in the production of so-called "mother of Satan" homemade explosives.

She also announced a crackdown on terror and illegal content online, designed to curb attacks and prevent children being groomed by sex attackers.

An acid attack victim has welcomed Amber Rudd's crack-down on acid attacks.


Resham Khan, 21, who faced life-changing injuries after a stranger hurled acid into her car as she celebrated her birthday, has been campaigning for tougher laws on acid, with a change.org petition she spearheaded garnering over a million signatures.

She said: "I welcome the announcement by Amber Rudd. It is somewhat reassuring to see the government acknowledge the true extent of the devastation and pain acid attacks inflict on its victims and their families, both psychologically and physically. Because of this, and the sheer fear and life-changing injuries acid can cause, I do hope this is the start of much more being done to prevent these attacks, punish the perpetrators and support the victims."

Resham Khan faced an acid attack on her 21st birthday. Photo / Change.org
Resham Khan faced an acid attack on her 21st birthday. Photo / Change.org

Khan, who was terrified to leave the house after her ordeal because of the scars inflicted on her, said the proposals to ban carrying acid in public without 'good reason' are "encouraging", explaining: "I hope these verbal remarks can be acted upon swiftly to become legislation. This hand in hand with Amber Rudd's decision to 'drastically limit the public sale of sulphuric acid' reassures me that this issue is being tackled. Banning the sale of acid to those under the age of 18 might be something we all at one time imagined was already in place but to its surprise, it wasn't.

"Deregulation can and is having negative effects on society and we must ensure that there is sufficient regulation when it comes to dealing with acid attacks."

"I hope the continued coverage, the constant awareness and the seriousness of such horrific crimes are noted by all and that we continue to play our part in society to end such repugnant practices. We cannot let the issue of acid attacks be forgotten and we will continue to push the government, local councils, local representatives and other influential members of the society to use their influence in tackling this Victorian-era practice."

It came as Rudd demanded internet giants "honour their moral obligations" and do more to remove terror and indecent sexual images from the internet to prevent people becoming radicalised or children being abused.

Earlier this year the Government announced it was looking at ways to stop acid attacks which have been particularly prevalent in London where gangs of criminals on mopeds have been targeting pedestrians at random.

Rudd said: "Acid attacks are absolutely revolting. You have all seen the pictures of victims that never fully recover.

"Endless surgeries. Lives ruined. So today, I am also announcing a new offence to prevent the sale of acids to under 18s.

Katie Piper is one of the most recognisable victims of an acid attack. Her ex-boyfriend threw sulphuric acid on her in March 2008. Photo / Getty
Katie Piper is one of the most recognisable victims of an acid attack. Her ex-boyfriend threw sulphuric acid on her in March 2008. Photo / Getty

"Furthermore, given its use in the production of so-called 'mother of Satan' homemade explosives, I also announce my intention to drastically limit the public sale of sulphuric acid."

She added that she will introduce a new violent crime strategy next year which will include measures to ban children from buying knives online and stop people carrying acid in public unless they have a good reason for transporting it.

Praising the efforts of the Police and other emergency services, Rudd also called on internet companies to do more to tackle terrorism.

Although five plots were carried out in the UK this year another seven were blocked, she said, adding that the intelligence services have noted a shift towards "crude" attacks using home-made weapons, rather than complex plots.

In a bid to stop being being radicalised online she announced plans which could see anyone who repeatedly watches terror material online imprisoned for up to 15 years.

It ends a disparity which currently means only those who download or store such material are subject to the law.

And she demanded internet giants do more to stop terrorist content being shared and stored online.

"In the aftermath of the Westminster Bridge attack, I called the internet companies together. Companies like Facebook, Google, Twitter and Microsoft. I asked them what they could do, to go further and faster," she said.

The Home Secretary added: "These companies have transformed our lives in recent years with advances in technology.

"Now I address them directly. I call on you with urgency, to bring forward technology solutions to rid your platforms of this vile terrorist material that plays such a key role in radicalisation.

"Act now. Honour your moral obligations."