Scotland's police say no to water cannons at protests

SCOTS police have rejected using water cannons to control public order disturbances after attending a UK conference showcasing the equipment.

Officers from Fife Constabulary represented Scottish forces at a conference in Belfast demonstrating the effectiveness of mobile water cannons last week, along with officers representing areas of England and Wales.

Currently only the Police Service of Northern Ireland is equipped with the 750,000 vehicles.

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After the conference, Scotland's chief constables decided in favour of continuing with more traditional methods of crowd control, while chiefs in England and Wales are to investigate the method further.

A spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland said: "We reviewed the position relating to water cannons last year before the G8 summit. The consensus between the forces was that it is not a measure that would be used in a public order situation or would be purchased. That position has not been changed.

"We see the fact that we didn't need them at G8 as a bit of a victory in terms of the methods that we employ here. There were minimal injuries to police and protesters."

Water cannons have never been used in Scotland to control demonstrators and police use defensive rather than offensive techniques.

At G8, officers surrounded crowds and tried to separate the trouble makers rather than try to push the crowds back.