The London mayor wants to prove that the weapons are safe after controversially buying three for Scotland Yard
London mayor Boris Johnson has agreed to be pummelled by a water cannon after controversially purchasing three of the weapons for Scotland Yard at the cost of £218,000.
In an LBC Radio interview, Johnson was asked if he would stand in front of them to "prove to Londoners the wisdom of your decision". (Props to presenter Nick Ferrari for essentially forcing London's mayor into a high-stakes game of chicken.)
"Man or mouse. You've challenged me, so I suppose I'm going to have to do it now," the Mayor said. "I can see all my press people pulling their hair out over this, but never mind, it's got to be done. Thanks for that one, Ferrari."
Johnson ordered the secondhand purchase of the cannons, which were originally bought by federal police in Germany. In the UK, water cannons have only ever been deployed in Northern Ireland, and Home Secretary Theresa May has yet to sanction their use in the country. A document on the Mayor's website justifies the speedy buy with the argument that these cannons are especially cheap and may be needed in case of any public disorder this summer.
Basically, that means that Johnson may have accidentally-on-purpose purchased some illegal weapons because they were on sale. (How else is Met Police going to put out all those summer BBQs, right?)
The purchase came about as a result of a controversial public consultation on whether the weapons should be used in London. Writing in the Telegraph, a German pensioner who was blinded by one at a protest warned of the dangers of the device:
"I have lost all sight in my left eye and only have 5 per cent vision in the right," Dietrich Wagner wrote. "I can’t read or write; I can’t even watch television... the fact is that water cannons are dangerous."
Your move, Johnson.