WARNING: This report contains images of acid attack injuries some readers may find distressing. Discretion is advised.
Resham Khan was celebrating her 21st birthday when she and Jameel Mukhtar, 37, were targeted by a man who sprayed them with a corrosive substance as they waited in traffic in Beckon last month.
Acting Detective Superintendent Neil Matthews said: “We are treating this incident very seriously and, following new information that has come to light, it is now being treated as a hate crime.
“The Met recognises the impact hate crime has on communities and encourage anyone affected by these incidents to report them to police or through community reporting channels.
“This was a horrendous act of violence with the victims suffering burn-related injuries which will require long-term treatment.”
It comes after Mukhtar criticised the police response to the incident, telling Channel 4 News: “I honestly feel that if this was a white person that got attacked by an Asian person, he’d be caught within 24 hours. It would be all over the news, there’s be a national man hunt.
“It’s definitely a hate crime, I believe it’s something to do with Islamophobia.”
Meanwhile Khan, a business management student from Manchester University, has been chronicling her recovery from her hospital bed via Twitter and has been praised for her sense of humour and her refusal to be cowed by the attack. She too has expressed frustration at the fact no one has yet been arrested in connection with the incident.
Tomlin is a white man, around 6ft tall of stocky build with short fair hair and distinctive tattoos of tear drops on his face - he is known to frequent the Canning Town area.
Members of the public are advised not to approach him, but to call 999 immediately if they see him.