The police force is expected to formulate a set of guidelines for using water cannon trucks by March next year, the head of the police watchdog has said.

The police purchased three water cannon trucks using HK$27 million. The vehicles arrived at the police tactical unit headquarters in Fanling for training last week.

Barrister Anthony Neoh, chairman of the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC), said after a meeting with the police that the force will send officers to France for training and draft the guidelines afterwards.

Police water cannon

Neoh said the IPCC will be able to read the draft and give recommendations. The police expects to complete the training and the draft by March next year, Neoh cited Director of Management Services Oscar Kwok as saying.

Neoh said officers will only use the trucks if necessary: “When it is necessary, they must use the level of force in accordance with the level of seriousness. There is no need to worry.”

“Any use of force must be done in accordance with the law,” he said.

Police water cannon

He said he believed that the trucks will only be used in situations that the police have difficulty controlling, such as riots.

Asked if the police should reveal the guidelines, Neoh said they should reveal the general principles, but it may not be appropriate to reveal guidelines in their entirety.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.