Police to ask home secretary to approve use of water cannon across country

Wednesday, January 22, 2014
By Paul Martin

Police chiefs say water cannon are needed because ‘austerity measures are likely to lead to continued protest’

Alan Travis
Wednesday 22 January 2014

Chief constables are shortly to press the home secretary, Theresa May, to authorise the use of water cannon by any police force across England and Wales to deal with anticipated street protests.

The Association of Chief Police Officers says that the need to control continued protests “from ongoing and potential future austerity measures” justifies the introduction of water cannon across Britain for the first time.

The London mayor, Boris Johnson, has already announced a consultation on the introduction of water cannon on to the streets of London ready for use by this summer.

A new Acpo/College of Policing briefing paper makes clear that chief constables across England and Wales have also been asked to discuss water cannon with their police and crime commissioners and “it is anticipated that the home secretary will be approached in early 2014 in respect of water cannon authorisation”.

The Acpo briefing paper is written by David Shaw, the West Mercia chief constable, who has been leading a national Acpo/Home Office project that was set up after the 2011 riots and has been re-examining whether to introduce water cannon for the first time in England, Wales and Scotland.

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