The timetable for introducing water cannon onto the streets of London appears to have slipped further, with Mayor Boris Johnson hinting the decision may not now be taken until after the General Election.
Although oversight of the Met is devolved to City Hall, the deployment and use of water cannon on the UK mainland requires the Home Secretary’s permission which is subject to a Home Office safety assessment.
In June the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) bought the cannon despite not having received Mrs May’s approval.
Approval was originally expected in time to allow the cannon to be ready for this summer should the need arise.
However last month London’s deputy mayor for policing and crime, Stephen Greenhalgh said the Home Office’s safety assessment was unlikely to conclude before the end of the year meaning approval could not come until 2015.
Speaking on LBC this morning, Mr Johnson said he now didn’t expect a decision to be made “in the near future” and suggested it could be Mrs May’s successor as Home Secretary who took the decision.
That would mean the cannon spent one third of their remaining operational life sitting in storage.
Commenting on the Mayor’s latest remarks, London Assembly member Jenny Jones said: “If the Mayor is waiting for a new Home Secretary under a different government then these weapons will be even older and closer to decommissioning.
“If they are not licensed then Mayor will have wasted money on training the police and modifying them for use in London, and they will be so old he won’t be able to sell them on. It’s been obvious to many of us that water cannon have no place on the streets of London.
“The Mayor should never have bought them and I hope the Home Secretary refuses to license them.”