Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats are calling on the government to introduce new reforms around acid attacks after five assaults were launched in London on Thursday 13 July evening. Tim Farron, the outgoing leader of the Liberal Democrats, has argued that it is too easy to get hold of the corrosive substance.

"Acid is a potentially deadly weapon that can cause life-changing injuries, it must be treated as such," he said.

"We need to look at how best to restrict the availability of acid and ensure those committing these horrific attacks are brought to justice.

"That should include increasing funding for community policing to gather intelligence, prevent crime and make our streets safer."

Labour, likewise, want the Conservative government to do more, warning that the authorities "do not have the tools necessary to investigate and prevent these attacks".

"The recent spate of acid attacks have shocked the nation, but sadly they are nothing new," Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott said.

"With a steady rise in attacks since 2010 and a steep increase of 70% from 2015 to 2016, it is clear that the government urgently needs a new approach to tackling this heinous crime.

"Just like knives and guns, acid is being used in murders, robberies and rapes. The problem is the weapon of choice is often a common household product. With very few prosecutions it is clear that we do not have the tools necessary to investigate and prevent these attacks."

The Metropolitan Police, at the time of reporting, have arrested two teenage boys in the capital in connection to the latest acid attacks.

Chief Inspector Ben Clark, from Hackney Borough, said: "This is a fast-moving investigation and we have made two arrests today. However, I would like to ask the public for their help.

"Each of these offences took place in busy locations and we know there may be witnesses who have not yet contacted us. If you saw something or managed to film or photograph anything that might help us please get in touch.

"These are hideous offences and must have been very frightening for all of the victims. I'm aware of rumours circulating that the victims were all food delivery riders set up in advance of the attacks. This is not the case. All victims were riding mopeds at the time of the attacks, but were from a variety of backgrounds.

"Of late we have seen more attacks using corrosive substances in London. I would urge businesses and parents to challenge those who they think may be trying to obtain or carry these substances as this could help prevent serious offences and life changing injuries being caused."

The Home Office had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.