Met bosses have been urged to drop plans to buy three water cannon and instead purchase ‘sound cannon’ devices which emit a targeted, high pitched noise to dispel crowds.
The force and Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime are considering buying the water cannon as means of dealing with potential, future civil disorder.
A majority of Assembly Members from all four City Hall parties have expressed concerns about the plans and have urged the Mayor to delay any decision until a national review into their use on the UK mainland is completed.
Conservative AM Tony Arbour says Long Range Acoustic Devices (LRADs) would cost £18,000 – 25 times cheaper than the cost of proposed water cannon – and would be more mobile, allowing them to be more easily and speedily deployed.
The devices were previously deployed in London by the military during the 2012 Olympics and are available to police during protests in New York City, Chicago and Barcelona.
Mr Arbour used a meeting of the London Assembly to ask Mayor Boris Johnson and Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe to consider buying the LRADs instead of water cannon.
Sir Bernard said it would be necessary to ascertain if the devices could be defended against by wearing earplugs and said he was unaware that they’d been deployed during the Olympics.