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Clegg Blasts Boris's Water Cannon Purchase

Thursday 12th June 2014

Nick Clegg has criticised Boris Johnson's purchase of three water cannon, saying they will not help police events like the London riots.


Boris Johnson agreed to buy three second-hand water cannon, even though Home Secretary Theresa May is yet to approve their use.

But the Deputy Prime Minister told Call Clegg that the idea that they could have helped is "fanciful".

Mr Clegg told LBC: "My personal view is I do not think that second hand water cannons bought at great expense from Germany are the answer to policing the streets of London.

"If you just think back to the riots three years ago, all of this comes from lots of understandable soul searching after the riots of what more powers or equipment do we need to give the police to deal with something like that.

"I have been told several times, that water cannon have possible some role if you are dealing with two big crowds which you want to keep separate - big football crowds that get out of control. The idea that in the riots when people are scurrying down small streets smashing windows then rushing off, small groups moving around in a very fluid situation. The idea that great big lumbering second hand German water cannon can somehow be wheeled out and sort that all out I think is fanciful and I personally think it also, it kind of rubs up against the long tradition of policing by consent on London's streets. I think it creates an embattled sense of how the police work which I don't think is in-keeping with our long policing traditions here."

The Liberal Democrat leader refused to join in with the Mayor, who yesterday agreed on LBC to be blasted by a water cannon to show how safe they are.

"Iif I understand it correctly we're all going to watch you [Nick Ferrari] and Boris Johnson be experimented upon by these new second hand German water cannon when they arrive so that's at least one silver lining for people like me, who don't think they should be here in the first place."