Owen Jones: Would you really trust a Met officer to wield a water cannon?

I've got a few other riot-suppressing tactics they might try first

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The Independent Online

So the commanders of the Metropolitan Police want water cannon. What could possibly go wrong?

This would help deal with 2011-style riots, they believe. I’d suggest that one surefire way to avoid riots would be to not to shoot dead young black men, and then “mislead” (the Met is litigious) the public.

Another effective tactic might be to treat all sections of the community equally, rather than, say, stopping and searching black people on suspicion of drugs at a far higher rate than white people, even though Government figures show they are significantly less likely to use drugs.

The riots could be over austerity, the police predict. With half a million people dependent on food banks in the seventh richest country in the world, you can see why there might be fertile grounds for rioting.

Living standards haven’t fallen for so long for more than a century. Most of Britain’s poor are in work, and one or two of them are feeling a bit ground down. The “riot is the language of the unheard”, after all, as Martin Luther King put it. Hosing people down, rather than giving them enough to live on, would tell historians of the future all they need to know about Britain in 2014.

Bottom line is – do you trust Met officers? They shot dead Jean Charles de Menezes (and misled us about it). They killed Ian Tomlinson (and misled us about it). They even stitch up Tory Cabinet ministers.

They need root-and-branch reform, not another weapon for them to misuse.

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