The Met is investigating links between acid attacks and criminal gangs as assaults with corrosive substances spread across London.
According to the BBC, deputy commissioner Craig Mackey said there were “some links” between gangs and the attacks, but warned evidence was limited.
He told the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee that 458 acid offences were reported in London last year.
Of these, 63% were assaults and 23% were related to robberies while the rest were criminal damage.
The majority of victims were aged between 15 and 29, nearly a third were Asian and around 80% of victims and 82% of suspects were men.
Mr Mackey said: “Many of us have been unfortunate to see quite a bit in our services but acid attacks are really extraordinary and strike something quite horrific in people’s psyche.
“East London is a hotspot, although there are offences across London.”
He added: “We are seeing some links - although it has to be treated with caution because it’s a small data set - of a growing feature between named suspects in acid attacks who also feature in our gang matrix.
“So don’t please report that gangs have all moved lock, stock and barrel into acid, but we are seeing a move across.”
Mr Mackey’s comments come after a wave of acid attacks hit east London this summer.
The assaults include a life-changing attack on cousins Resham Khan and Jameel Muhktar in Beckton on June 21, acid being poured on a pregnant woman and her husband in Mile End on July 4 and five attacks on moped drivers in 90 minutes in Haggerston, Shoreditch, Stoke Newington, Clapton and Islington on July 13.
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