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Academic is expert guest in ITV news documentary

Dr Simon Harding

A UWL academic has taken part in a TV show investigating the rise of the use of corrosive acid as a weapon in attacks.

Dr Simon Harding, an associate professor at the university’s Graduate School, contributed expert analysis to the ITV news programme, Tonight, entitled ‘Acid attacks; how scared should we be?’  

With a long background in criminology as a lecturer and a successful author, he explained why acid appeals to young people caught up in gang culture as an alternative to carrying a knife and analysed the legal response by the justice system to the issue.

Dr Harding said: ‘This is not just ordinary violence, you don't just damage somebody or hurt somebody or incapacitate somebody, you take it to the ultimate extreme, there is a form of ultra-violence now. 

‘It (acid) is disguisable, it’s odourless, it’s colourless, it’s easy to carry, it’s easy to conceal and when you attack someone with acid you don’t actually have to be in proximity to them, you can be metre or two away. This allows you to have an advantage.

‘Heavy sentencing may not act as a deterrent for people who are heavily embedded in that gang world. It may of course have an effect on people who are using acid in a more casual manner. Perhaps for robbery or burglary.’

The BBC Three channel also interviewed Dr Harding about the issue of acid attacks for a web article, in which he pointed out that acid attacks have existed in the UK in some form for more than 200 years.  

Read the full BBC article here.

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