Invest in youth, not water cannon

10 August 2011

Responding to David Cameron's statement today making water cannon available to police forces on the UK mainland, Jenny Jones, Green member of the Metropolitan Police Authority, said:

"Water cannon causes injuries to the eyes and brain, as well as bruising to internal organs.

"Water cannon have restricted manoeuvrability, so they would not be very useful against mobile groups in narrow city centre streets or estate lanes.

"And when you have a machine that requires 4000 gallons every 4 minutes, it needs constant refilling.

"In contrast, we've seen a massive increase in police presence on the streets of London on Tuesday night, leading to more order and security.

"We should be asking why the police didn't respond sooner and nip the looting in the bud on Saturday night, at the Wood Green and Tottenham Hale shopping centres.

"We had copy cat looting, with the destruction of businesses and livelihoods, because young people felt they could get away with it.

"We need an urgent review of police tactics, not a whole new armoury.

"Instead of investing in water cannon, the government should be thinking of investing in the longer-term measures that we know will make a difference.

"We have to avoid a US approach of criminalising entire communities and using paramilitary policing on young minority men.

"We need to think about younger children who may be vulnerable to getting caught up in gang violence.

"And we need to create a society where youth are not so extremely alienated in the first place."


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