Support for water cannon

Hannah ThompsonYouGovLabs and UK Public Opinion Website Editor
December 16, 2010, 9:09 PM GMT+0

A substantial majority of Brits says that the police should be able to use water cannon when dealing with violent protests, our poll has found.

  • 69% said that the use of water cannon was acceptable
  • 23% said it wasn’t.

The poll of over 1,800 British adults comes following last week’s student protests over rising university tuition fees, which saw violent unrest in central London, including damage to the Treasury, the injuring of protesters and police officers, and an incident involving the Prince of Wales' and Duchess of Cornwall’s car.

Police and protesters

Water cannon, last used to deal with unrest in Northern Ireland, have been central to debate amid calls for security to be tightened in the event of future protests. Notwithstanding, the police have received much criticism for their alleged use of violence against, and the ‘kettling’ (or restriction of movement) of, protesters.

Responding to the news that a ‘request’ had been made to acquire some of the water cannon ‘stock’ currently available in Northern Ireland, Home Secretary Theresa May told the House of Commons, ‘I don't think anybody wants to see water cannon used on the streets of Britain.’ However, our data suggests that this may in fact not be entirely true in the event of violent protests.

See the survey details and full results here