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Met chief open to water cannon plan

Britain's top police chief says he has an "open mind" over proposals to spend millions of pounds on water cannon to avoid a repeat of the summer riots.

Bernard Hogan-Howe revealed a review of the need to invest in them in London was being finalised by Christmas.

The Scotland Yard Commissioner said officers had learned from the looting and violence which spread from London across the country in August.

When asked about a potential £4 million investment in water cannon for the capital, he told members of the Metropolitan Police Authority at City Hall: "I have got an open mind about whether it should work or not.

"We do not want to see what happened in the summer start again."

He said he was "almost amazed" there were not more deaths as a result of the scenes which overwhelmed officers on consecutive days.

The Metropolitan Police are understood to be considering the purchase of three water cannon in what could be the first time they are a routine option for police outside of Northern Ireland.

Scotland Yard is training extra officers to use rubber bullets after a review of the summer riots exposed a string of failures by officers.

There were not enough officers to deal with the unprecedented scale and spread of the disorder, an internal report found last week.

Chiefs also said intelligence gathering "could not cope with the scale and speed of the spread of disorder" as the second part of a review was published.

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