Water cannon coming to the streets of London

Although water cannon has been used to disperse crowds in the troubled Northern Ireland, where sectarian tensions between Catholics and Protestants often spill over into violence, they have never been used in England.

Water cannon coming to the streets of London

World Bulletin / News Desk

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has approved the purchasing of three water cannon vehicles for the Metropolitan police even though British home secretary Theresa May is yet to reach a decision on whether or not to sanction their use.

"Following the mayoral consultation, approval is sought to purchase three water cannon with immediate effect," a document on the mayor's policing and crime website states.

"The timing of this decision is driven by the enhanced risk that the water cannon, currently available to be purchased secondhand, are sold to another European police authority. The saving represented by this purchase is so significant as to justify the risk caused by the delay in the licensing process," it added.

Johnson rushed to purchase the vehicles for £218,000 as a precaution against possible riots this summer, although he did not state a specific threat.

"Purchasing at this time considerably improves the possibility that the Metropolitan police would have the tool to deploy in the summer, when, although there are no expectations of violence, such tools are most likely to be needed.

"The water cannon will not be deployed until (and unless) the home secretary authorises their use in England and Wales," the document says.

Although water cannon has been used to disperse crowds in the troubled Northern Ireland, where sectarian tensions between Catholics and Protestants often spill over into violence, they have never been used in England.

Last Mod: 11 Haziran 2014, 15:10
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