Sadiq Khan is selling Boris Johnson's water cannon after more than £322,834 was spent on them by the Met Police

Rebecca Smith
Johnson's successor Sadiq Khan has criticised the decision to purchase three water cannons
Johnson's successor Sadiq Khan has criticised the decision to purchase three water cannons (Source: Getty)

Boris Johnson's water cannon never quite got the airing the former mayor wanted and now Sadiq Khan has put them up for sale via the Ministry of Defence.

But not before costing more than £322,834 for the Met Police in purchasing, fitting out and repairing the three machines, "despite the fact they cannot legally be used in the UK and have languished in storage for two years", Khan said at the Mayor's Question Time today.

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Some of the water cannon costs:

  • Low Emission Zone compliance - £32,004
  • Re-painting - £19,035
  • Fitting CCTV - £19,376.70
  • Body work repairs due to corrosion - £4,911.15
  • Supply and fit of 999 sirens - £3,109.20
  • Signage - £3,511.50
  • Installation of a Radio / CD player - £970.50

Johnson bought the cannon second-hand from the German Federal Police back in June 2014, though Khan also added this was before he had approval for their use in the capital. Theresa May banned water cannon usage last year.

"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."

Each year, the cannon cost around £21,000 on maintenance too, so they're now for sale via the Ministry of Defence (MoD). The process will incur fees, though the mayor has said remaining funds from the sale will go into youth projects to tackle crime.

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It will have to find the highest and most reputable bid from a European policing or civil protection organisation, according to conditions set by the German Federal Police. The machines have a life span of 10 years.

Labour’s London Assembly policing and crime spokesperson, Unmesh Desai, called the sale, "a welcome termination of one of Boris Johnson's most embarrassing legacies".

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