Home Secretary's decision on water cannon use

Announcement of the Home Secretary’s decision on the authorisation of water cannon and supporting evidence.

As water cannons have the capacity to cause harm, it is classed as a ‘less lethal systems and technology’, for which there is an established authorisation process. Their use by the police in England and Wales is subject to Ministerial authorisation.

Read the ministerial oral statement announcing the decision.


The Home Office’s rationale is to be as transparent as possible in providing the background documents that informed the Home Secretary’s decision. However some sensitive information has been redacted to protect personal details and commercial interests and to avoid prejudicing the ability of the police to enforce the law. As a general principle, information has been redacted where it would be exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, should a request for it be received.

Supporting documents

The following links provide the supporting documentation which informed the Home Secretary’s decision.

Published 15 July 2015