London riots: water cannons to be used on 'sick society'11/08/2011 20:57
David Cameron said that the cannon, previously only used in Ulster, would be available at 24 hours’ notice to deal with the “despicable violence” being seen in cities. Police had already been authorised to use baton rounds, he said. In a sign that other, more draconian, measures will now be at their disposal, he added: “We will do whatever is necessary. Nothing is off the table.”
In his strongest comments yet on the perpetrators of the violence, Mr Cameron said: “There are pockets of our society that are not only broken, but frankly sick it is a complete lack of responsibility in parts of our society, people allowed to feel that the world owes them something.”
He added: “The sight of those young people running down streets smashing windows, taking property, looting, laughing as they go – the problem with that is a complete lack of responsibility, a lack of proper parenting, a lack of proper upbringing, a lack of proper ethics, a lack of proper morals. That is what we need to change.”
Mr Cameron, who had chaired a meeting of the Government’s Cobra emergency committee to assess the situation, said: “We needed a fightback, and a fightback is under way.
“We have seen the worst of Britain, but I also believe we have seen some of the best of Britain – the million people who have signed up on Facebook to support the police, coming together in the clean-up operations.”
Mr Cameron said that more arrests would take place as police sifted through a mass of evidence. “Picture by picture, the criminals are being identified and arrested,” he said.
Water cannon have been used by police in Ulster this summer and have been a regular sight at disturbances in the province. But despite calls for their use on the mainland, including after last year’s student riots in London, ministers have always ruled out the tactic.