Sir Hugh Orde: Water cannon make for good headlines – and bad policing

Related Topics

Policing is a complex and challenging world at the best of times, and when situations such as those we have been dealing with this week arise out of the ether, it is unsurprising that responses are not immediate or perfect.

I remain convinced the British model – based on consent, with police largely unarmed, and built up from the grass roots of neighbourhood policing – will prevail.

The decisions around tactics are, and must always be, for the chief constables and their officers, it is as simple as that. Chiefs understand the challenges because they have all served substantial apprenticeships in the profession, and have been highly trained to make these calls.

Having authorised the deployment of both water cannon and baton rounds, I remain clear that they have a vital place in our armoury, but only when proportionate and appropriate to the situation we face. In stark terms, without extremely violent and static crowds, they are useless.

Baton rounds are discriminate weapons: you fire them at individuals who pose a violent threat where life is at risk. They are not for firing indiscriminately at individuals on the move, however popular such a move would be with the public.

Equally, to suggest human rights get in the way of effective policing is simply wrong. The proportionate use of force up to and including lethal force is both lawful and human rights compliant.

In the longer term, the service does face challenges linked to the 20 per cent funding cuts. It will get more challenging as the efficiencies get harder to find in the latter years of the spending review, but my colleagues remain determined to do all we can to keep people safe.

The overwhelming majority of law-abiding and concerned citizens have a right to expect us to keep them safe and these criminals will be dealt with. They will be dealt with by an independent police service using tactics that work, supported by an independent judiciary which will decide on the sanction.

That is the British system. It is respected and copied throughout the world, and to subordinate it in the search for a short-term impact would be wrong.

The author is president of the Association of Chief Police Officers

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer Trustee opportunities now available at The Society for Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...

Early Years Educator

£68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...

Nursery Nurse

£69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...

Primary KS1 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A supporter of the Kurdistan Workers' Association holds a placard during a demonstration against Islamic State (IS) in front The Hague  

Nothing will stop Isis except a Syrian truce

Patrick Cockburn
The victory of the NO campaign was confirmed at 6.08am on Friday morning  

Scottish referendum: Partisan fallout, Gordon Brown's comeback and Elizabeth, the Queen of unity

Jane Merrick
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam