Assembly questions the speed of public consultation on water cannon

09 January 2014

This meeting took place on 30 January 2014. Read the transcript here.

Police and Crime Committee Chair Joanne McCartney AM has written to Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime Stephen Greenhalgh questioning the short timeframe he is proposing to allow for public consultation on the deployment of water cannon in London [1].

In its report Arming the Met: The deployment of less-lethal weapons in London, the Police and Crime Committee set out a series of requirements that would be needed to make the case for expanding the range and number of weapons available to the Met, including:

why additional measures are required;

how the specific changes requested to less-lethal weapons deployment would meet that need;

how it intends to engage the public on changes; and

a proposed timetable for implementation

The Chair’s letter to Mr Greenhalgh says the full facts of the case for purchasing water cannon have not yet been made and :

“I am therefore concerned that the timetable proposed in your letter, with a final decision to be made by mid-February, will not provide sufficient time for an open, transparent debate to take place in such a short period.”

The Police and Crime Committee will question Mr Greenhalgh and senior officers from the Metropolitan Police about their request for water cannon at its meeting on 30 January.

Joanne McCartney AM said:

“The deployment of water cannon on London’s streets is a significant departure from the tradition of policing in the capital and must be made with public support and consent.

“As it has now been more than two years since the 2011 riots, the apparent justification for purchasing water cannon for the Met, it is difficult to see why Mr Greenhalgh appears to be so keen to rush through the public consultation process unless he does not believe the arguments in favour will stand up to scrutiny.”

The Police and Crime Committee meeting will take place on Thursday, 30 January from 10am in The Chamber at City Hall (The Queen’s Walk, London SE1).

Media and members of the public are invited to attend. The meeting can also be viewed via webcast.

Notes for Editors:

Exchange of letters between Joanne McCartney AM and Stephen Greenhalgh attached.

Arming the Met: The deployment of less-lethal weapons in London,

The Police and Crime Committee is responsible for examining the activities of the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime and investigating matters it considers to be of importance to policing and crime reduction in London.

The Police and Crime Committee is established under s32 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011.

The Police and Crime Committee has a statutory duty to make a report or recommendations to the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime on the draft Police and Crime Plan, s33(1) Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011

As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.