The Met has probably wasted £200,000 on water cannon

The Metropolitan Police bought three second-hand water cannon from Germany last year, but have been unable to use them so far, as they’ve not had government permission.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson had approved the Met’s request to buy them, but now admits it’s not likely Home Secretary Theresa May will grant police permission for their use.

Police officers have already been trained on the controversial devices, which shoot water in high pressure to help disperse crowds.

They are approved for use in other countries where protestors have been seriously injured in the past – including a German man who was blinded by a water cannon.

Johnson said May would be unlikely to approve them, with the responsibility likely falling to the next government.

Johnson said: “We haven’t had any cause to use them. I’m sure if there were any reason to use those water cannon they would be licensed without delay.

“They are wonderful water cannon, they are fully operational, our police officers are training on them. They are not licensed.”

The mayor has been criticised for allowing the purchase before the government had granted approval.

London Assembly member Jenny Jones told ITV: “If the Home Secretary wasn’t likely to license water cannon then surely the mayor should have spoken to her in the first place and not wasted time and public money on buying an expensive weapon he will never be able to use.

“The Mayor’s decision to purchase water cannon against the views of the Assembly and his own public consultation was rash and smacks of arrogance.

“These cannon are very old and only have roughly a three-year lifespan. If the mayor is waiting for a new home secretary under a different government then these weapons will be even older and closer to decommissioning. If they are not licensed then mayor will have wasted money on training the police, modifying them for use in London and they will be so old he won’t be able to sell them on. It’s been obvious to many of us that water cannon have no place on the streets of London.

“The mayor should never have bought them and I hope the home secretary refuses to license them.”

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Anonymous

    Brave will be the HS who uses water cannon on the people

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