Londoners are being invited to to give their views on controversial plans to equip the Metropolitan with water cannon.
Following a request by the Met for the cannon, Mayor Boris Johnson wrote to Home Secretary Theresa May for permission to proceed.
News of the Mayor’s letter provoked criticism from opposition groups on the London Assembly who say the Mayor is rushing into the purchase without first determining who would have the final say over the use.
City Hall says the cannon would be bought from the German Federal Police at “a reduced cost” of around £35,000 each. The intention is to have them available to the Met by this summer.
Met CommissionerSir Bernard Hogan-Howe has previously said they would be “rarely used and rarely seen”.
The Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee is to question senior figures from the Met and Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) later this month over the need for the cannon and their potential use.
Ahead of the meeting, MOPAC is holding a public consultation allowing Londoners to have their say on the plans.
Stephen Greenhalgh, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime and head of the MOPAC, “Surveys have indicated strong support for the police to have every tool at their disposal to prevent riots. The professional view of police leaders is that water cannon would be a useful tactic to help protect people and property in response to extreme public disorder.
“The Mayor has given his support in principle, subject to proper rules for deployment, but our tradition of policing by consent means we do not want to go ahead until we have heard from Londoners.”
City Hall says the results of the consultation will be used “to address any concerns people may have” and will be shared with the Home Secretary who will must authorise any use of water cannon on the mainland.