Acid attack guidance for the security industry

05 February 2018


​We published guidance for private security operatives and businesses on the steps to take in the event of an acid attack.

We published the guidance following the rise in acid-related attacks across the UK. Last month a G4S security guard suffered injuries after having acid squirted at him while he was going about his duties at Barclays Bank at Brighouse in West Yorkshire.

NHS England and the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons, have issued first aid guidance on how to ensure victims of acid attacks get the right help fast. They are asking people to remember 3Rs:

  • Report the attack: dial 999
  • Remove contaminated clothing carefully
  • Rinse skin gently with running water

The guidance focuses on the following main points for security operatives:

  • In the unlikely event an acid attack occurs on a licensed premises, such as a pub or a nightclub, getting bottles or jugs of tap water from the bar might be the quickest and the easiest method to alleviate a victim’s suffering.
  • An acid attack involves a corrosive substance being thrown or sprayed on a person or people as part of a violent attack or robbery.  Although acid attack is the phrase most people use to refer to such incidents, it can involve acidic, alkaline or caustic chemicals. Household cleaners, drain un-blockers and industrial chemicals might all be used by perpetrators.
  • Employers and venue owners are responsible for their colleagues and patrons and therefore must conduct risk assessments associated with acid attacks and plan for how to respond to them.  This is subject to the Health and Safety Act 1974 as well as the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002.  This includes supplying appropriate equipment for responding to an acid attack.
We are working with other agencies including the Metropolitan Police Service and the London Fire Brigade, who are leading this initiative. We will refresh the guidance once further information becomes available.

Further information:

  • The Security Industry Authority is the organisation responsible for regulating the private security industry in the United Kingdom, reporting to the Home Secretary under the terms of the Private Security Industry Act 2001. The SIA's main duties are: the compulsory licensing of individuals undertaking designated activities; and managing the voluntary Approved Contractor Scheme.
  • For further information about the Security Industry Authority or to sign up for email updates visit www.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk. The SIA is also on Facebook- this link opens in a new window (Security Industry Authority) and Twitter- this link opens in a new window (SIAuk).