Brent Central MP urges Mayor of London to drop water cannons request

Sarah Teather, Lib Dem MP for Brent Central . Picture credit: Jan Nevill

Sarah Teather, Lib Dem MP for Brent Central . Picture credit: Jan Nevill - Credit: Archant

The Liberal Democrat MP for Brent Central has tabled a motion in Parliament urging the Mayor of Londonto drop his controversial request for water cannons in the city.

The move by Sarah Teather, follows Boris Johnson’s letter to the Home Secretary, Theresa May, to say he will consult the public on their views on use the crowd control measure.

The Home Secretary rejected his request to pay for the Met Police’s water cannon as a national asset.

Commenting, on the proposals, Ms Teather said: “I’m very concerned about the Mayor’s plans, which run completely counter to our tradition of intelligence-based community policing in London.

The devices have not previously been available to police on mainland Britain, with their use been limited to Northern Ireland.

Critics condemned their use in September 2010, as a demonstrator was blinded when he was hit in the face during a protest in Stuttgart, Germany.

She continued: “Water cannon have never been used on mainland Britain, and where they have been used in other countries they have been shown to cause serious physical harm.

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“I fear that, if these plans go through, we may soon see water cannon used against those exercising their right to protest peacefully.”

Stephen Greenhalgh, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, said there is strong support for the police to have every tool at their disposal to prevent riots.

He added: “The Mayor has given his support in principle, subject to proper rules for deployment, but our tradition of policing by consent means we do not want to go ahead until we have heard from Londoners.”

Mark Rowley, Metropolian Police Assistant Commissioner, claims that water canons would have been an effect measure to control demonstrators during the 2011 London riots.