Age Verification for Acid to Increase
Online retailers to increase age verification security in light of new under 18’s band on acid
With more than 400 attacks using corrosive substances recorded in first 6 months of 2017 alone, instances of acid attacks in the UK are at a record high. Attacks using corrosive substances cause horrific and irreversible life changing damage to victims, and is fast becoming associated with gang related or honour attacks amongst young offenders.
With over a fifth of acid attackers identified during 2016-17 being under 18 years of age, voluntary agreements by some of the UK’s largest retailers to stop the sales of acids to customers under 18 years old, does not appear to be having a substantial enough effect.
In a continued effort to combat the use of corrosive substances as weapons, Home Secretary Amber Rudd, has announced that the Government will pass legislation to ban the sale of acids to anyone under the age of 18.
The new legislation will treat the sale and possession of harmful, corrosive substances in much the same way as the existing current legislation around knife carrying. Penalties could include a large fine, or a minimum of four years in prison, or in some cases both. These restrictions will apply to drain cleaners containing sulphuric acid, as well as paint strippers, limescale removers and other cleaning products with an acid concentration of more than 10% or 12%.
Whilst major High Street retailers will no doubt want to implement the new restrictions as soon as possible, governance of online purchases could be far harder for the Government to monitor effectively. Until sulphuric acid is restricted for sale to the general public, there are still a multitude of websites available for direct purchase and shipment, all at low prices and with payment options including debit cards and even Paypal widely available.
Responsible retailers, both online and on the High Street, will need to have failsafe age check facilities in place, to prevent sales to under 18’s. AgeChecked, a developer of age verification software, agreed that water tight restrictions must be placed on the sale of such dangerous chemicals to help prevent further attacks.
Alastair Graham, CEO of AgeChecked fully understands the challenges for retailers to obtain suitable proof of age, but is adamant that retailers must now “implement robust web-based systems to verify age and identity online.” He continued to say that “ Age verification software provides retailers with a protective layer to their website which quickly and effectively confirms a person’s date of birth” He also suggested that these systems become the norm and not the exception to the sale of prohibited and potentially dangerous chemicals to minors, to protect both the retailer and the general public at large.
AgeChecked software provides website owners with an age−gateway to add to their site, it allows merchants to route traffic according to age regulations, ultimately stopping someone underage from buying a restricted product. The only safe course of action in respect the sale of potentially hazardous chemicals, is to be sure that your website offers dedicated age-checking software at all times.