Jean has added her name to a campaign to keep water cannon off London’s streets.
She co-signed a letter on the issue to The Daily Telegraph, along with other politicians, union leaders and policing activists:
SIR – We write to express our deep concern at the attempt by the Metropolitan Police to introduce water cannon on the streets of London, and urge Theresa May, the Home Secretary, not to authorise their use.
The proposal lacks support even from the police, with five out of the six largest police authorities, several police and crime commissioners and Lord Blair, the former Metropolitan Police Commissioner, refusing to support the introduction of water cannon. The London Assembly voted down the proposal and 39,000 people have now signed a petition against it.
The Association of Chief Police Officers’s own briefing acknowledges that “water cannon are capable of causing serious injury or even death”. Water cannon would be more likely used against organised protests than in situations like the 2011 riots, with profoundly disturbing implications for democracy.
Mrs May has previously rejected calls for the weapon to be introduced, saying in 2010 “I don’t think anybody wants to see water cannon used on the streets of Britain because we have … a different attitude to the culture of policing here in the UK. We police by consent and it depends on that trust between the police and the public.” The following year she reiterated: “The way we police in Britain is not through use of water cannon. The way we police in Britain is through consent of communities.”
Trust between the police and the public is fundamental to a peaceful, civilised society. The introduction of water cannon would take us down a dark path.