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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Unused water cannon with inbuilt stereos

The Guardian reports that officials in Boris Johnson’s administration while he was London mayor spent nearly £1,000 fitting stereos to three water cannon that were never approved for use on the capital’s streets:

Johnson’s successor, Sadiq Khan, revealed that nearly £323,000 had been spent to buy, modify and maintain vehicles, which were purchased secondhand from German federal police in 2014 in anticipation of social unrest.

Greater London Authority officials said they hoped to sell on the water cannon for between £35,000 and £43,000 – more than they cost to purchase, but far less than the funds spent on them to date. However, no deal has yet been agreed.

A minimal reserve price will be set to ensure the machines, which were built in 1990, are sold for more than their scrap value, the GLA said. Any funds recouped will go towards communities and youth projects.

“It beggars belief that such a huge amount of taxpayers’ money has been wasted on paying to store these redundant machines,” Khan said. “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 to sell these machines through a process that charges a fee.”

A GLA source said she understood that the stereos, which included radios and CD players, had been installed to the water cannon so police officers operating the vehicles were able to listen to the news while out on the streets.

But a second official stressed that while the money for the machines’ modifications came from the GLA, it was the Metropolitan police that had decided how it was spent. The Guardian has contacted the Met for an explanation of why it decided that they required stereos with CD players.

To be honest this entire story boggles my mind. As if it were not bad enough spending so much money on water cannon that are not needed, splashing out £1,000 on stereos for them really takes the biscuit. So much for the Tories being guardians of the public purse.
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