Blackpool South Independent MP Scott Benton has enthusiastically supported the use of water cannons being used to deal with protestors. He has shared a video of two high power water cannons being deployed to blast H2O at group of Dutch environmental demonstrators protesting by sitting in the main road into The Hague. Commenting on the video, Mr Benton wrote: “Definitely need these for the UK.”
The Dutch police deployed their water cannons to disperse thousands of Extinction Rebellion supporters and climate activists protesting on a road in the Netherlands to demand an end to government subsidies for the fossil fuel industry. More than 10,000 people marched along the A12 highway into The Hague, ignoring warnings from authorities not to block the major traffic artery into the Dutch seat of government – and were consequently blasted by the Dutch police water cannons.
The use of water cannons in England tells a much more sorry story. Boris Johnson bought three water cannons when he was Mayor of London. These were later sold unused for scrap, at a net loss of more than £300,000. Johnson bought the crowd-control vehicles from the German police in 2014 in anticipation of social unrest, without checking whether they could be used on London’s streets. However, the then Home Secretary Theresa May, had banned them from use anywhere in England and Wales. Additionally, on their arrival in London, it was found that the water cannons did not comply with the city’s low emission zone.