London's illegal water cannon were a 'good decision and value for money'

A Tory politician hoping to be London's next mayor today defended Boris Johnson's decision to buy three 'illegal' water cannon.

Credit: PA

Stephen Greenhalgh, Johnson's Deputy Mayor for Policing, faced a series of difficult questions from London Assembly members.

Home Secretary Theresa May last week rejected Scotland Yard's request for a licence to use the water cannon. It was seen as a humiliating snub to Johnson and a blow to his Tory leadership ambitions.

Credit: PA

May told the Commons water cannon posed a threat to police/community relations.

She said experts identified 67 faults with the three machines. The Met spent £218,000 buying the water cannon from Germany and adapting them for use in London, even though the police are banned from using them.

Assembly members accused Greenhalgh of wasting council taxpayers' money.

He revealed the Met faces a bill of £600 a month to store and maintain the water cannon.

The Deputy Mayor admitted there was no chance of the water cannon being used on the streets while May remained Home Secretary.

I make no apologies, it was a sound decision, good decision, value for money on expert advice and the idea these water cannon are unsafe does not bare scrutiny.

– Stephen Greenhalgh, Deputy Mayor for Policing