Police could use water cannon to tackle rioters: UK Home Secretary

Metropolitan Police have trialled use of water cannons but has never used it.

London: UK Home Secretary Theresa May has reportedly signalled that police could use water cannons to tackle violent protests like the recent one over tuition fees.

May said that while riot control tactics were an operational matter for the police, they should consider all the options to make sure future demonstrations were policed ``robustly``.

“Whether or not they choose to use water cannon is an operation issue. I think it is right that we look across the board at all the options that are available,” The Telegraph quoted May, as saying.

“It is a matter for them to decide which tactics they wish to use. They (the police) will look across the board at the powers that are available to them, at the operational things that they can do and make decisions to ensure any future demonstrations that take place are also policed robustly,” she added.

During last week’s demonstrations in central London, police reportedly appeared either powerless or reluctant to tackle violent demonstrators who vandalised the Supreme Court, HM Revenue and Customs as well as desecrating Sir Winston Churchill’s statute and other monuments in Parliament Square. They also attached a Rolls Royce in which Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall were travelling.

Some police officers said following the demonstrations that in future, any such demonstration should be dealt with water cannon.

The Metropolitan Police has trialled the use of water cannons but has never used it.

“It is very effective. The truck simply comes up, a plate goes over the nozzle and it sprays, rather than jets,” a Met officer said.