Greens in London and Manchester today blasted a “ridiculous right-wing plan” to introduce water cannon to the Metropolitan and Greater Manchester Police(1).
The plan for the two forces to introduce water cannon was revealed yesterday in the Independent on Sunday (2). Jenny Jones, a Green Party member of the London Assembly who sits on the Metropolitan Police Authority, said: “There are other, more peaceful ways, to restrain rare violent protest… The police currently seem to confuse the word ‘protester’ with the word ‘criminal’ and go to police public order events in the wrong frame of mind – aggressive and confrontational.”
“We need more police officers on the beat. We need our police service to be properly resourced and supported, in order to keep officers safe while they’re reducing crime. But we certainly don’t want to see British constabularies evolve into aggressive gendarmeries who look for a fight at every opportunity and think they need plastic bullets and water cannon.”
Greens in Manchester echoed Jenny Jones’s sentiment. Gayle O’Donovan, secretary of the Manchester Green Party, said: “Recently, we have seen video footage of British police officers beating innocent peaceful protestors with batons. We’ve seen film of police officers repeatedly using tasers on a man lying on the ground. This kind of incident is a national disgrace. Clearly there are too many police officers imbued with a macho, aggressive attitude that has no place in law enforcement in a decent society like Britain. Greater Manchester Police should be putting its efforts into reducing crime, not dreaming up ways of wasting money on gung-ho tactics reminiscent of 1960s South American dictatorships.”
1. The proposals have been estimated at £5m for London and £1.2m for Greater Manchester. See http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/police-want-water-cannons-to-beat-back-city-rioters-1732194.html.