The Metropolitan police force is developing more “assertive tactics” to tackle disorder, as the Scotland Yard review into last summer’s riots ‘Four Days in August’ is published.

This includes the potential to buy water cannon, costing around £1m, and making baton rounds more readily available. CS smoke, similar to tear gas, could also be used in the future, as a “last resort” to disperse crowds during riots.

The report suggests that the perceived failings of the police force during the riots were largely down to the lack of officers available, must recognises that police must use more “flexible and dynamic” policing methods.

The use of water cannon is “widely recognised as an effective tactic to disperse and distance aggressors”, according to the report. It is currently available in Northern Ireland, but has never been used in Britain.

At present, Britain relies on an agreement with the Police Service in Northern Ireland to have the resource available for use at 24 hours’ notice, but the Met could buy its own.

Assistant commissioner Mark Rowley, who conducted the review, said: “What I hope isn’t lost amongst the public’s reading of our detailed analysis is the extreme situation and the individual acts of heroism that took place across London.

“The summer was without precedent and as a result stretched the [Met] beyond all anticipated capability. However I accept this will be of little comfort for those who were victim to the violence, looting and arson.”

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Roy Rowlands writes for Public Sector Executive an essential guide to public sector management offering a wide view public sector news views and opinions