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Wednesday 11 March 2015

Boris Wastes Another £200K

To show that he is totally devoid of shame when it comes to spraying other peoples’ money up the nearest wall, London’s occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson did not stop at the badly executed cycle hire scheme, the vanity cable car and an increasing number of vanity buses - more and more of which are running with their rear platform closed as TfL can’t afford the “conductors” - but then progressed to policing matters.
Here, he became fixated with the idea that the Metropolitan Police’s needs were not best served by maintaining Police numbers, but by buying them extra kit that they had not yet even thought they needed. The authorities in Germany had some secondhand water cannon going spare. These being readily available, water cannon suddenly became the solution, despite their not being passed for use anywhere in the UK.

And, despite ever-growing pressure on the Mayoral budget, £200,000 was somehow found to pay for three of what Adam Bienkov at politics.co.uk has called “weapons”. Because that is what they are: you would not hesitate to call a side-handle baton or a Taser gun a “weapon”, and a direct hit from a water cannon is likely to cause anyone in the way rather more damage than either of those.

So never mind that the things were ungainly, the field of vision for driver and operator was severely restricted, they were heavy and would probably have to be restricted to the capital’s broadest streets - and kept away from some Thames bridges - and forget that the Home Office had not given Bozza permission to operate them. The Mayor had decided they were needed. So the cops have been training with them.

However, and here we encounter a significantly sized however, Theresa May has looked at the case for giving Bozza the OK to deploy water cannon, and concluded that he has not made it. She “has now concluded that important concerns about safety and the impact on the nature of British policing have yet to be addressed — and is refusing to give the go-ahead during her remaining months at the Home Office”.

The Standard continues “A formal rejection has been ruled out ahead of polling day to avoid a damaging political internal Conservative clash between Mrs May and the Mayor. But the decision means the Met’s three water cannon - which have remained idle since their £218,000 purchase - are increasingly unlikely to be used in London. Both Labour and the Lib-Dems have criticised the idea of deploying them in London and some Tories think the prospects of a new government approving their use appears slim”.

Now, £218K, when compared to the cycle hire, the cable car, and the buses, is a relatively small sum. But if Ms May has said no this side of a General Election, she is most unlikely to say yes if returned to power in May. And if Labour are also adversely disposed, Bozza has no other majority Government or senior Coalition partners left to turn to.

All of which means this is another of Bozza’s wheezes that is going nowhere.


Philip said...

Tessie's just taking her opportunity to slap down a potential rival in any post-Daveybloke leadership bloodbath. I can't imagine her actually giving a shit whether or not the things would do any good.

SimonB said...

But we know that Bozza considers such amounts to be "chicken feed."