The Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson today launched an investigation into the slow response by police to the scenes of violence which marred yesterday’s student protest against tuition fees and cuts in university budgets in London.
Police appeared to be taken by surprise by the scale of the protest and were unprepared when a number of students became violent, storming the Millbank headquarters of the Conservative Party.
Following criticism in many circles of the Met’s failure to react, Sir Paul quickly announced a probe into the situation, promising that his force will be better prepared for any future protest action taken by students.
One area already identified by the investigation is the use of water cannons to deter those intent on violence. Police sources suggest that the water cannons alone were not a strong enough measure to put off the students, with a new approach of using a cannon which would fire soap in conjunction with the water cannon being considered.
Other measures being discussed for future protests are to enforce a strict curfew of 11am for students to arrive at the site of the demonstration, with it being a well-known fact that most university students are adverse to getting out of bed before 11am, and a plan to re-designate the protest area as a “lecture hall”.