The Mayor of London is flogging predecessor Boris Johnson’s ‘redundant’ water cannons to raise cash to tackle gang crime – because they are illegal to use in Britain.
Sadiq Khan today revealed that purchasing and kitting out the cannons had cost the taxpayer over £320,000 – including £970 on CD players.
The three water cannons were bought second-hand by Boris Johnson from the German Federal Police in June 2014, despite the fact that they cannot be used legally in the UK, and have sat in storage for two years.
But the mayor today announced that selling the cannon will save almost £175,000 over the next eight years.
The Mayor said: “It beggars belief that such a huge amount of taxpayers’ money has been wasted on paying to store these redundant machines.
“We’ve been left in this position by the previous Mayor who rashly purchased them before he even had permission to use them, and now it’s my job to claw back as much of London taxpayers’ money as I can.
“I have spent a significant amount of time looking into how I can do this, and have been left with no choice but sell these machines through a process that charges a fee.
“By working with communities and returning to real neighbourhood policing, we can do far more for the safety of our city rather than relying on obsolete and illegal water cannon.
“They do not belong on the streets of London, and by selling them we’re able to put money back into helping young people affected by gang crime and keeping Londoners safe.”
Mayor of London Boris Johnson defends water cannons against criticism from Home Secretary Theresa May https://t.co/sY2lS9bzhs
— Sky News (@SkyNews) July 15, 2015
The cannons cost over £320,000, including £32,000 on Low Emission Zone compliance, almost £20,000 on repainting and CCTV and £5,000 on repairs due to corrosion.
In July 2015, the then Home Secretary Theresa May refused permission for the cannons’ use on the capital’s streets.
She told MPs that evaluation and testing had shown the cannon could cause serious injuries, including spinal fractures, and raised doubts over their usefulness in fast-moving riots.
The cannon have since been kept in storage by the Metropolitan Police.