Sajid Javid, (Photo: REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo)

UK POLICE will get new powers to stop and search anyone suspected of carrying acid and other corrosive substance to combat “sickening” acid attacks, it was announced today (20).

Currently, police can only stop and search people they suspect of carrying acid with intent to cause injury.

This extension follows a public consultation where 90 per cent of respondents supported the move.

Home secretary Sajid Javid said: “Anyone who carries acid to maim and disfigure others is a coward who deserves to face the full force of the law.

“That is why we are giving police officers greater powers to help bring them to justice and protect the public from their sickening crimes – which can leave victims’ with life-changing injuries.

“The police are clear stop and search is one of the most important tools they have in the fight against serious violence – I will continue to give them the support they need to do their vital work.

Welcoming the move, deputy chief constable Adrian Hanstock, stop and search lead for the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said “identifying and disrupting those individuals through the controlled use of stop and search powers is an important way in which we can keep the public safe.”

Hanstock, however, added that these powers should be used in a “legitimate, proportionate and considerate way.”

Additionally, police officers will be also be able to stop and search people suspected of using drones above 400ft or within five km of an airport. This will help them tackle disruption such as that seen at Gatwick Airport in December, when tens of thousands of passengers were inconvenienced after flights were cancelled due to drones flying over the airport.