At this week’s Police and Crime Committee I, alongside my colleagues at the London Assembly, questioned the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime Stephen Greenhalgh on the purchase of Water Cannon.
The purchase, maintenance, and training of staff for the 3 Water Cannon is over £300,000, all before gaining licence from the Home Office to actually use them. The Home Secretary Theresa May ruled last week that Water Cannon would not be licenced within the Mainland UK due to 67 faults being found with the vehicles, the danger of injury to the public and that Policing in the UK has always been operated by consent. I don’t usually find myself agreeing with Theresa May but believe that this was the right decision for my constituents.
The maintenance and insurance cost of keeping the Water Cannon in storage is £25,000 per year, and the Mayor of London has decided to keep these vehicles despite evidence that they are not fit for purpose.
I pressed to the Deputy Mayor that this was a significant waste of tax payer’s money, and was a poor decision his, and the Mayor of London’s behalf. Water Cannon would have been largely ineffective in tackling the public disorder during the London riots, and are unusable on many public London streets. We do not want to see public trust and confidence in the police be worn down by the use of Water Cannon, when the Police already have the use of various non-lethal weapons.