Thursday 24 November 2011

A Northern Ireland Police Water Cannon was on display at the Emergency Services Show 2011 in Stoneleigh, UK

This could be some topical footage. It shows The Police Service of Northern Ireland demonstrating a Water Cannon on the UK Mainland for the very first time. 

The Government resisted it's use in the Summer Riots. This vehicle is one of six used in Northern Ireland. Watch out for the crowd soaking.

Press Release from the show organisers below the video.

This is your chance to view a water cannon on British mainland

The riots recently seen across London and other cities in England saw firebombs thrown at police officers, shop windows being smashed, shops looted, extreme violence and torched property, cars and London city buses. This type of violence put a whole new strain on police forces throughout England and in some cases drastic measures were discussed to quell the violence.

Over the days the riots occurred, the use of water cannons was discussed at great length by parliament, police and citizens. The Home Secretary, Theresa May, rejected the idea by explaining that they were not the way Britain polices, this is instead through consent of communities. However growing support for the equipment came from both sides of the political divide.

David Brown, Show Organiser, Emergency Services (MMC) Ltd, comments: “During the riots many politicians called for the use of water cannons to drive looters away and as the riot activity intensified David Cameron PM said that the cannon would be available at 24 hour’s notice to deal with “despicable violence” being seen in cities. Whilst the water cannon was not deployed, it was authorised and on standby should the police have needed it. This authorisation by the Prime Minister suggests a change in tides for the way police may deal with future violence that plagues the streets of England.”

He concludes: “If the water cannons had been deployed it would have been the first time they had been used on the British mainland. Water cannons have been used by police in Ulster this summer and have been a regular sight at disturbances in the Ardoyne area of Belfast since 2001. Whether these high-pressure hoses, that fire jets of water or vapour, will be seen on British mainland in the near future is questionable! The viability of water cannons in cities such as London still remains a topical question and consequently we are delighted to have one at this year’s exhibition.” Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Gary White said: "The Police Service of Northern Ireland has been using the Water Cannons in large scale public order operations for over ten years. Like any use of force by police, all use of a Water Cannon is governed by strict criteria and is only used when necessary and proportionate. I am convinced that over the years, the Water Cannon has saved many lives. It is an extremely effective tactic that allows us to maintain a safe operating distance from riotous crowds."

The Emergency Services Show 2011 will have a water cannon on display kindly supplied by the Police Service of Northern Ireland. This will allow visitors to view firsthand what this widely discussed piece of equipment looks like and get to grips with how it functions and its capabilities.

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