After a two year wait, Theresa May finally deigned to give the Met her decision on water cannon. It was of course a No, even though water cannon are used abroad, and in Northern Ireland with no problems. It was unfair to use as an example the man who was blinded in Stuttgart. He stood right in front of a cannon, an absolutely ludicrous thing to do. In February 2014, Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, who deployed the machines when he was chief constable of Northern Ireland between 2002 and 2009, said they were a proportionate technique “to buy you space in certain situations”.
There was no need for their use to damage police-community relations, and there was no evidence of serious injury associated with them in deployments in Northern Ireland, he told the London Assembly police and crime committee.Crucially, Sir Hugh said: ““In Northern Ireland, without it, I would have had more injured officers.”
When Boris purchased the water cannon, he had the strong support of the PM, who said “The police must have the equipment they need.” David Cameron, silent now, was strongly in favour of water cannon then. Maybe he has not had time to confirm that.
Boris also asked the opinion of Londoners on water cannon. During the 2011 London riots, 90% of Londoners begged for water cannon. They also wanted tear gas (78%) and live bullets. (33%). A huge poll of over 4,000 people showed that 68% of Londoners still want water cannon.The London riots demonstrated the worst violence in living memory and the police were unprepared. 44 police were badly injured, one cop was shot. Police were attacked with missiles, and iron bars, and were often pulled from their horses with only shields and batons to defend themselves.
It is the police who risk their lives for us, while the Home Secretary spouts platitudes that she is ” concerned about the “potential impact of water cannon on public perceptions of police legitimacy”. Mrs. May completely ignores that polling on water cannon shows the public is 90%, 78% and 68% in favour.
Lurid scenes of violence show why Boris Johnson is right and May is horribly wrong. It is easy to preach when it is somebody’s elses ass on the line. Little or no consideration was given to the Met police. The police whom May consulted were not London cops. It was London police who had to deal with the worst of the riots.
It is always the same., another carefully orchestrated stitchup. Jealous rivals try to block Boris, at every turn. even to the extent of banding together. The level of political nous shown by Kay Burley and Co. was superficial in the extreme and missed facts that were staring them in the face. Politics once again has taken precedence over the safety of the police force and the wishes of Londoners. The polls show that every time they were consulted, the people backed Boris on water cannon. He understands their needs and that’s way it always is.