Monday, 13 December 2010

How far will the government go to stop protests?

We're only seven months in but already the new government is ironing out their authoritarian streak.

As anticipated by this blog "kettling" is back, and Home Secretary Theresa May now says that she wants an even more "robust" approach to demonstrations.

She has even indicated that she "will not stand in the way" of water cannon. I bet she won't!

Water cannon are already approved by Home Office in Northern Ireland but have never been used on the British mainland.

One Met officer welcomed their use telling the Telegraph

“It is very effective. The truck simply comes up and it sprays, rather than jets. It is like being in a power-shower times 10 and it takes the air away, which makes it difficult to breathe, so you have to move."

Other reports of injuries caused by water canons are more worrying.

However May says that the police should "look across the board at all the options that are available."

The Metropolitan Police Service who have been calling for a "debate" on all crowd control options since as early as 2005

According to one MPA report these methods include:

"items such as water cannon, discriminating irritant projectiles, attenuated energy projectiles and long-range acoustic devices"

So that's the soaking, shooting, chemical spraying and deafening of protestors.

At what point will our new "liberal" government stop "looking across the board" I wonder?

-UPDATE- BBC: Met in talks with N. Ireland Police over water cannon

You can read more about moves to stamp down on protests and strikes in London in my latest Snipe column.


Anonymous said...

I fully support our great Police Force and recognise all the good work that they do. I also think that to cutback on frontline policing is completely insane and a recipe for disaster and what I find frightening is the fact that this so called coalition is already openly saying that it is happy to instruct violent forceful measures to effectively crush the demonstrations.This will cause so much hate to the police force because the students are fighting for fairness for all those that are going through the education system.I would not be surprised in the slightest if this so called Coalition was also seriously considering the use of Plastic Bullets! It also appears that this so called Coalition is going to create a Broken Britain and completely Divid it. How much more misery is this so called Coalition going to create?

Mark L said...

One of the few things to my mind that set the Lib Dems apart from Labour was their approach to civil liberties. It will be a sad day for the party if the coalition erodes them further.

AdamB said...

Theresa May seems to have done something of a u-turn on water cannons telling the House of Commons this afternoon that she doesn't think they are needed at the moment.

However, Ian Paisley MP claimed that two water cannons were already being borrowed from Northern Ireland by the Met police which she neither confirmed nor denied.

One to investigate I think.

AdamB said...

And now BBC London are reporting that the Met *are* considering the use of water cannon and are in talks with N. Ireland police.

Anonymous said...

johnnyv said...

National Troll A Tory Day! – December 15th

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

I hope they do use all these awful techniques against demonstrators because it will only make the police and government look even worse.

AdamB said...

Daniel - Boris seemed to anticipate this at today's Mayor's Questions. He said that he didn't want an "arms race" with protestors because it would "hand them a propaganda victory."

The principle of the case didn't really seem to come into it though...