The Metropolitan Police Force Wants Water Cannons in Case of Future Rioting

By Gerald Lynch on at

Picking a bone with London's local authorities, should a demonstration crumble into a full-scale riot, could become akin to going for a terra firma swim, as it's been revealed that the Metropolitan police force is shopping about for water cannons.

The request for three of the controversial crowd-control tools was revealed when a letter sent by Boris Johnson to the Home Secretary Theresa May was made public. In it, the Mayor of London sides with Met commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe's belief that a water cannon could be used to quickly bring riots (like those that spread across the country in the summer of 2011) under control.

The letter states that a water cannon would be "rarely used and rarely seen", though May has still turned down a request for its public funding. However, a public consultation into the possible future deployment of the devices could go ahead within weeks, despite fears that the equipment would mark the start of the militarisation of the police force and scare people out of their democratic right to protest.

What the Metropolitan police seem to forget is that, unlike rioters from warmer climes, Londoners are used to getting rained on pretty much every day. You have to wonder how much of a deterrent a bit of water will be, no matter how highly pressurised, when the rioters are already soaked through by the elements. [Guardian]

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