We fully respect the Home Secretary’s decision but we are naturally disappointed. We believed allowing police the option of deploying water-cannon, even though they would be seldom seen and rarely, if ever, used, was a sensible precaution which would allow us to deal with a number of specific public disorder situations more safely and effectively than we are currently able to.
We presented our evidence to the Mayor. He supported our request, and funded the purchase of three vehicles. Our officers have been able to train with these for several months. This has been of significant value in developing our understanding of how to deploy the vehicles and what tactics we should adopt in the very rare event of extreme disorder.
However, we understand that any changes to the way police are able to use force in any scenario must be very carefully considered and we know the Home Secretary has applied detailed scrutiny to the evidence before coming to her decision.
Metropolitan Police Officers occasionally travel to Northern Ireland to support their colleagues. This can require them to deploy alongside water cannon. We will be retaining our devices to ensure our officers are properly trained for this eventuality.
This will also give us access to equipment that is already used elsewhere in the UK, but only on specific political approval, as is appropriate, and one that is likely to be granted only in the most extreme of circumstances.