Mayor of London sells unauthorised water cannons

Sadiq Khan has announced three water cannons bought by his predecessor at a cost of over £320,000 have been sold for scrappage after never being used. 

Nov 19, 2018
By Serena Lander
Sadiq Khan

The water cannons were bought from the German Federal Police in 2014 by Boris Johnson for the Metropolitan Police Service in anticipation of disorder.  

In July 2015, former Home Secretary Theresa May refused to sanction their use on the streets of the capital and, in 2016, after being elected as the new Mayor of London, Mr Khan announced his plans to sell them as soon as possible. 

On Monday (November 19), he said the cannons have finally been sold to Reclamations (Ollerton) Ltd for £11,025, all of which will be used to fund frontline youth and community services as part of the Mayor’s Young Londoners Fund. 

They were originally purchased and repaired for a total of £322,000, costing taxpayers over £300,000 without ever being authorised for use. 

The Mayor also confirmed the small amount of income from the sale will form part of £13.2 million of new funding for 72 projects across the capital, impacting 42,000 young people. 

Mr Khan said: “For too long, London taxpayers have had to bear the brunt of Boris Johnson’s appalling botched water cannon deal. 

“Londoners continue to live with his vanity. I am pleased we have managed to finally get rid of them and I made an election promise to Londoners that I would claw back as much of this cash as possible and pump it into helping young people at risk of being affected by crime and giving them better life opportunities.” 

Patrick Green, CEO of knife crime charity The Ben Kinsella Trust said: “Young people thrive when they are given the opportunity, the support and the encouragement to succeed. The Mayor’s Young Londoners Fund has enabled more youth providers to create services aimed at keeping young people safe, nurturing their talents and helping them prosper. This initiative is a vote of confidence in young people and will help them create the London of the future.” 

The Mayor called on ministers to reverse “huge savings enforced on the police” and properly fund youth and community services. 


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