Police chief rules out water cannons

News story
News story

THE borough’s police and crime commissioner has ruled out any possibility of officers using water cannons on the streets of Wigan.

Tony Lloyd said the use of water cannons would “fundamentally alter the police’s relationship with the public.”

The PCC’s comments are in reaction to the news that London Mayor Boris Johnson has approved the purchase this week of three cannons for the Metropolitan Police.

Mr Lloyd said: “We need to have a full, public debate before we see water cannon used on our streets. That has not happened and I find it worrying that there seems to be a move in some quarters to press ahead with this measure without it being properly scrutinised.

“There is a real danger that the relationship between the police and the public they serve will be fundamentally altered if we start to see the use of water cannon on the streets of Britain.”

Mr Lloyd has the equivalent administrative powers to the Mayor of London in policing terms and GMP is the largest force in England and Wales outside of London.

He added: “That debate needs to not just be about when water cannon should be deployed, but why. No convincing argument has been made for their deployment.

“For example, they would have been useless during the last period of major disorder - the riots of 2011.

“They will certainly not be seen on the streets of Greater Manchester unless and until the case is made for them - and we are nowhere near that point.”

Johnson has offered to be sprayed by water cannon in order to demonstrate that they are safe. A Commons ethics panel will now decide whether their use is lawful.