Two blasts from the past

untitled (94)This week the Government has been forced to address two matters that have been bubbling away for more than a year. The High Court judgement over the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers (DRIP) Act which I wrote about extensively last Summer seems to have got it spot on. The Government was wrong to rush through this Bill at a speed that led to far too many elements that were badly formed and that did not allow time for any Public consultation on a Bill that puts you and I under surveillance. Sadly this incompetence and desire to pry into our lives without our consent that was demonstrated by the coalition and Labour Party will not be acknowledged by the Government who could so easily accept the Courts findings and set about putting matters right. Instead less than 3 months into their new term, they are already appealing the High Court decision, pouring even more of our money into a folly of their Political ambition. The second issue that was announced this week was a decision by Theresa May to continue to prevent the use of water cannon on our streets. This decision is also one I support and I have written about previously. The request by a small number of Chief Constables for permission to use this technology goes back to December 2012 and the urgency for a decision was heightened over a year ago when Boris Johnson and Bernard Hogan Howe, agreed to purchase 3 vehicles from Germany at a knock down price, primarily because the vehicles are old and had been retired from active service. There are mixed views about water Cannon, although the Home Secretary and her Labour shadow are now of one mind (albeit in Theresa Mays case some 30 months after she was first asked for a decision). It is pathetic that it has taken so long to come to this conclusion. However not everyone agrees, I had a short twitter debate this week about water cannon with Kevin Hurley, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey. Kevin argues that water cannon would have prevented deaths and damage in the riots in London of 2011, opinions that he presented in a very patronising manner, as he explained that unlike him I am not an ex Police Officer and so I have no operational experience of riots. Thankfully common sense and other life experiences are not exclusively the domain of people like Kevin Hurley. My view is informed by many issues and concerns over the use of such an aggressive and dominant piece of equipment. One of my influencers is a previous Chief Constable of the Thames Valley Peter Neuyroud whose views I hope Kevin would be somewhat less dismissive of. What Kevin and I do agree on is that the riots were preventable, so that would be a good place for all of us to start. We also agree that the use of baton rounds (previously called rubber bullets) and police batons are themselves capable of causing a great deal of injury and indeed potentially death. If violent riots do occur on our streets in the future, we need tools that will allow Police Officers to be protected, and help them to protect others and potentially our property. However water cannon is clearly not the solution, and thankfully the Government have finally worked that out too!

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
This entry was posted in Data Retention and Investigatory Powers, Justice Issues, Parliament and Democracy, Police & Crime Commissioner, Policing, UK Riots in August 2011 and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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