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20 March 2014 - Water cannon to be used in London

Publié par Clifford Armion le 20/03/2014


London Mayor Boris Johnson backs water cannon use in the capital

Kashmira Gander (The Independent)
London Mayor Boris Johnson is supporting plans to allow the Metropolitan Police to use water cannon in the capital, amid accusations that he ignored public opposition to the move.
Thousands of people contested plans to buy the machines during a public consultation by City Hall, as well as in online petitions.
However, Mr Johnson cited the results of a survey carried out for the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) to argue that Londoners support the plans.
In the poll of 4,223 people over the age of 16, 68 per cent agreed that they had a "small, limited role" in dealing with "the most serious public disorder", meaning “the potential for loss of life, serious injury or widespread destruction to property”.
Mr Johnson said: “No-one wants to see water cannon routinely deployed on the streets of London but having carefully weighed up all the evidence, I have concluded there is broad support amongst Londoners for the use of this measure by the police in limited circumstances.”
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An informed point of view

Why I support giving water cannon to London's police
Stephen Greenhalgh (The Guardian)
Last week I hosted a public meeting at City Hall with the Metropolitan police to allow the public to express their views about the request the police have made to use water cannon. Boris Johnson has said he is minded to support the police but we want to listen to Londoners as we are doing until 28 February, before the mayor gives his views to the home secretary, who will ultimately make the decision.
The City Hall meeting and the many other forms of engagement we have conducted on this matter have revealed to me that the debate about introducing water cannon has become mixed up in two ways. It is seen either as a move to restrict the freedom of protest or as an escalation in the use of force by the police. Both views are wrong.
First, water cannons are tools for responding to serious public disorder, not for policing protest. Since the riots of 2011, the police have identified on a number of occasions that there is a gap in their current response to serious outbreaks of extreme or violent public disorder which, they think, water cannon would be a useful tool to fill.
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Some context

Met police want water cannon ready to use in Britain by summer
Vikram Dodd (The Guardian)
Britain's biggest police force wants water cannon ready to be used on the streets of mainland Britain by this summer, official letters reveal.
The documents also show that a request for the government to fund the controversial purchase has been rejected by the home secretary, Theresa May.
Public consultations on the deployment of water cannon will begin within weeks and a formal decision made next month.
Water cannon have not previously been available to police on mainland Britain, and their use has been limited to Northern Ireland.
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A dangerous asset?

Blinded German man urges Boris Johnson not to bring water cannon to London
Naomi Grimley (BBC News)
A German man who was blinded by a water cannon in Germany has come to the UK to warn against their possible use in London.
Dietrich Wagner - a 69-year-old retired engineer - was hit in the face at a protest in Stuttgart four years ago. His eyelids were torn and some of the bones around his eyes fractured, causing his eyeballs to fall out of their sockets.
Mr Wagner's injuries are very rare but he has travelled to the capital to lobby the mayor, Boris Johnson, who is asking Londoners whether the Metropolitan Police should have water cannon available in future.
Mr Wagner was attending a demonstration over the redevelopment of Stuttgart's main railway station on 30 September 2010. He remembers the jets on the water cannon suddenly becoming more intense: "I felt something like a punch in my face and then I fell backwards," he recalls.
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"20 March 2014 - Water cannon to be used in London", La Clé des Langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029), mars 2014. Consulté le 29/05/2020. URL: http://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/key-story/archives-revue-de-presse-2014/20-march-2014-water-cannon-to-be-used-in-london