30 October, 2006

Police want water cannon.

The Daily Telegraph carries a report that the Metropolitan Police (London's police force) are wanting to ban flag burning and to be able to use water cannons to deal with violent demonstrators. The proposal seems to have originated in a report by Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur, the Met's senior Muslim officer. Assistant Commissioner Token, who in the past has been perceived as soft on the problem of Islamic extremists, seems to be trying to cover his back as a result of the adverse reaction by a public tired of watching the police stand idly by as Islamic demonstrators flout the law. The two most notable occasions being: in Trafalgar Square last February,over the Danish cartoons; and outside Westminster Abbey, last month, over the Pope.

Of course the friends of the terrorists in the human rights industry are against the proposals but they do have a valid point when they argue that the police already possess the powers to intervene. Indeed, why should the police be given the ability to use extreme measures when they repeatedly refuse to use the powers they have. Moreover, if the police feel it is safer use water cannon rather than to wade in and crack heads in the traditional manner, it will soon become a measure of first resort and be used in all manner of circumstances.

Over the years, I have seen enough of these reports to be cynical enough to bet that, having given the public the impression that the police is getting tough, AC Token's report will be quietly forgotten and he, and his colleagues, will quietly continue the traditional appeasement.

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