Letter to the Paper: No To Water Cannon

Featured in the Hackney Gazette and archived here.

The Met Police’s public consultation about the use of water cannons on our streets has, rather quietly, got underway and as a Hackney resident, I want local people, Londoners and everyone in the UK to get involved in the debate.

While water may sound harmless, even the police admit that these cannons are ‘capable of causing serious injury or even death’. This is not just about getting people a bit wet with a giant water pistol. When these weapons were used in Germany, pensioner Dietrich Wagner was left blinded by the damage caused.

As many will know, the majority of cuts to public services are yet to be announced, despite the Government claiming economic recovery, so it is likely that people will take to the streets over the coming years to demand an alternative. And in fact, the police admit that the cannons would be used to deal with protests ‘from ongoing and potential future austerity measures’.

This is yet another recent example of the Government appearing to be quickly and rather easily shutting public discussion about what kind of Britain we want to live in.

I will be at City Hall on 17 February for the public meeting to urge Boris Johnson to rethink bringing water weapons to our streets. People can also get involved at watercannonengagement@mopac.london.gov.uk or find the public campaign on Facebook.

Kirsty Styles, Hackney Green Party

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