Government consults on plans to strengthen controls on sale of explosive precursors
Public consultation published to prevent terrorists obtaining explosive precursors.
The government yesterday (16 December) published a consultation on proposals to strengthen the controls in place for purchasing explosives precursors and poisons under the Poisons Act 1972.
Following the tragic Manchester Arena attack in 2017, the government committed to enhance its capabilities to detect terrorist activity involving chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive material and their precursors, as well as control and safeguard these substances.
The proposed new measures will protect the public further by reducing the threat posed by the illicit use of explosives precursors and poisons.
Home Secretary Priti Patel yesterday said:
The government already has robust controls in place for the sale of explosive substances and a strict licensing regime for the most dangerous chemicals. However, the recent attack in Liverpool was a stark reminder of how terrorists seek to do us harm.
Public safety is my number one priority. It is therefore right that we should strengthen our controls to make it harder for terrorists to get their hands on dangerous substances, whilst not placing undue burden on businesses and those who require access to them for legitimate purposes.
The public consultation includes options to improve the suspicious activity reporting regime, introduce additional obligations on online marketplaces and improve processes to verify professional users.
The government is also considering adding further substances to the lists of reportable and regulated precursors and poisons as well as introducing upper concentration limits to be applied to Explosives Precursors and Poisons Licences that are issued to members of the public.
The Poisons Act 1972 already sets out controls of explosives precursors and poisons, restricting access to the most dangerous materials. It permits a licensing regime for the purchase and use of regulated substances by the general public where there is a legitimate need and no safer alternative.
Shops and businesses are also required to report any suspicious transactions and to report any significant losses or thefts.
The consultation will run for 12 weeks seeking views from businesses who supply chemicals, online marketplaces who facilitate the sale of chemicals and the general public to strike the right balance between protecting the public and allowing access for legitimate and professional use.
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