Crunch meeting on future of Notting HIll Carnival tonight

Crunch meeting on future of Notting HIll Carnival TONIGHT amid calls for it to be moved to Hyde Park after ‘unsustainable’ levels of violence marred this year’s celebration

  • Police arrested 308 people over two-day event in West London on August 27/28
  • Meeting at 6.30pm after eight revellers were stabbed and 75 officers assaulted

The future of Notting Hill Carnival will be discussed at a meeting tonight amid calls for it to be moved after sickening violence yet again marred this year’s celebration.

Police arrested 308 people over the two-day event in West London on August 27 and 28 – with eight revellers stabbed and at least 75 officers assaulted. Six of the officers were bitten, one was sexually assaulted and another suffered a serious hand injury.

Petrified carnival-goers also saw a hooded thug charging across the street wielding a foot-long machete, while another was spotted raising a zombie knife in the air. This year’s event saw the highest number of stabbings since 2016, when there were 15.

Research by MailOnline today established that there have been 5,319 arrests made over the past 20 years at the carnival – with this year’s total of 308 up by 47 per cent on the 209 at last year’s event, which also saw the first carnival murder since 2004. 

Now, there are growing calls for the annual party to be moved to another location such as nearby Hyde Park, with Policing Minister Chris Philp revealing he could be open to seeing it relocated if this was recommended by the Metropolitan Police.

Tonight, organisers the Carnival Village Trust are holding a post-event residents’ meeting at their headquarters in The Tabernacle community hub on Powis Square.

A young man waves around a machete at Notting Hill Carnival in West London last month

A man is seen running across Ladbroke Grove holding a machete-type blade on August 28

Police detain a young man on Ladbroke Grove on August 28 during the Notting Hill Carnival

Crews who carried out the clean-up estimated collecting 13 tonnes of laughing gas canisters

Tonight, organisers the Carnival Village Trust are holding a post-event residents’ meeting

Representatives from the Metropolitan Police and the councils of Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea will attend the event from 6.30pm to 8pm, with discussion likely to include whether the location could be moved to make it easier to police.

The meeting has been billed as ‘an opportunity for you to let the organisers know how the Carnival was for you, what was useful and what could be improved’.

It comes after Susan Hall, the Conservative candidate in the 2024 London mayoral election, called for the carnival to be moved to another area.

The Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents officers in the capital, has also echoed these suggestions.

Its vice chairman Rick Prior last week condemned the level of violence as ‘unsustainable’, saying: ‘It is just awful and this sort of violence against officers at this event has become normalised.

‘The officers have a right to come to work and expect not to be attacked, injured, sexually assaulted or bitten. Those bitten will have had to be given anti-viral drugs if the skin was broken, and will now need all sorts of tests – it is horrendous.

‘It has almost become a certainty we will have this violence and terrible treatment of police officers every year and it is just not acceptable.

‘It is a very difficult event to police and of course we recognise the need for this event but it should perhaps be moved to somewhere like Hyde Park where it would be less problematic to police.’

Meanwhile Ms Hall has labelled the carnival ‘dangerous’ and has suggested it should be moved to Hyde Park.

The carnival has been held on the streets of Notting Hill every year since 1966 – apart from in 2020 and 2021 when it was cancelled due to the pandemic.

When Ken Livingstone was mayor, he suggested it could be started in Hyde Park and then proceed to its normal venue – but the idea was dropped amid mass opposition.

Mr Philp said last Thursday that if police advised that the narrower streets posed a challenge for officers, he would not oppose discussions about moving the carnival.

This map issued in a booklet for residents this year reveals the Notting Hill Carnival area

A man is seen to wield a large machete-type blade on Ladbroke Grove on August 28

A man holds his face in his hands at the carnival as he is escorted away by police on August 28

A man waves a machete-type weapon around at Notting Hill Carnival on August 28

Police officers detain a person during the first day of the Notting Hill Carnival on August 27

Mounted police officers make their way through the streets of Notting Hill last month

Speaking to LBC, he said: ‘The mayor of London obviously is the politician responsible for London. I think if the police advise that narrow streets make it more dangerous, then I think, yes, that should be looked at very, very seriously in light of what happened.

Notting Hill Carnival meeting details 

A meeting following this year’s Notting Hill Carnival will take place tonight (Wednesday, September 6) from 6.30pm to 8pm.

It will be held at The Tabernacle, which is the headquarters of Carnival Village Trust, at 35 Powis Square (W11 2AY).

Representatives from Kensington and Chelsea Council, Westminster Council and the Metropolitan Police will be present, as well as the organisers.

Although the event is billed as a ‘post event residents meeting’, there is no requirement to pre-register to attend.

Westminster Council says: ‘No need to sign up, just pop along to ask any questions you may have.’

It adds: ‘It’s an opportunity for you to let the organisers know how the carnival was for you, what was useful and what could be improved so that next year’s event can be even better.’ 

‘I think it’s reasonable that the carnival goes ahead. We’re a free country, after all, and if people want to have a carnival – and obviously hundreds of thousands of people went to it – then it is reasonable that goes ahead.

‘But it’s got to be done safely. If the police advice is that narrow streets make that difficult, and if it’s moved into slightly wider streets that would help, that is something I think the mayor of London should be looking at seriously.’

Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley stressed last Wednesday that any such change was not a decision for police, who would work with organisers to review safety at the event.

At this year’s event, one 29-year-old man was in a critical condition after being knifed just after 9pm on the Monday, while a 19-year-old was in a stable condition having been stabbed an hour earlier.

Scotland Yard confirmed that 308 were arrested – up from an initial total of 275 that was given – at the carnival, which was attended by an estimated two million people.

The arrests were for offences such as possession of offensive weapons including guns, assaults, possession of drugs and sexual offences.

Shocking pictures showed one man brandishing a foot-long machete very close to other carnival-goers as he ran around the streets with other group members in masks.

One image showed him appearing to point the weapon at a person on the ground. As those in the vicinity fled, police on horseback tried to chase after the group.

Chaotic scenes at Notting Hill Carnival on August 28, pictured around the Ladbroke Grove area

Police officers take their positions during the parade at Notting Hill Carnival on August 28

Police officers patrol during the main parade of the Notting Hill Carnival on August 27

Police officers keep a lookout during the parade at the Notting Hill Carnival on August 28

As well as the two men left in hospital, six others aged between 18 and 40 were stabbed in separate incidents and sustained non life-threatening injuries.

READ MORE Nitrous oxide will be banned ‘by end of the year’: laughing gas to become illegal Class C substance with those found in possession facing up to two years in prison, Home Office announces

It comes after 74 officers had been injured at the carnival last year.

Mr Prior praised the senior Met officers who oversaw the policing operation and said the crime would have been far worse without strong leadership.

‘Our point of contact at the carnival was very pleased with the Met’s command team and the decisions they made this year,’ he said.

‘They gave the officers on the ground the confidence to carry out their role knowing they had leaders in place who were making the right decisions quickly.’

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Ade Adelekan, who oversaw the policing, said: ‘It is regrettable that for a second year in a row, Monday night at Carnival has been marred by serious violence.

‘Nobody disputes the significance of Carnival on London’s cultural calendar and the overwhelming majority of those who came will have had a positive experience. However, we cannot overlook the stabbings, sexual assaults and attacks on police officers that we have seen.

‘Carnival is a challenging policing environment. Officers were asked to be vigilant and alert but to be approachable, respectful and sensitive at the same time. They did all of that and more and they deserve our recognition and our thanks.’

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: ‘The Notting Hill Carnival is one of the world’s biggest street festivals and is part of the very fabric of our city.

Crowds pack the streets on the second day of this year’s Notting Hill Carnival on August 28

Revellers at the Notting Hill Carnival on August 28 as they pass through gates in West London

Crowds pack the streets on the second day of this year’s Notting Hill Carnival on August 28

Dancers parade through the streets of West London on August 28 – the final day of the carnival

Performers at the Notting Hill Carnival make their way through the streets on August 28

‘The celebration was born out of the Caribbean community in north Kensington and Notting Hill, and the mayor believes that it’s only right that this remains its home.

READ MORE NANA AKUA: Thugs rampaging with zombie knives. Eight stabbings, 75 police officers hurt. Open drug use. And revellers urinating in gardens. To call this a celebration of black culture is an insult

‘Like with other major events in London the mayor will continue to work with local partners to ensure the event remains safe and enjoyable for all.’

The final night of the carnival also saw raunchy celebrations with scantily clad revellers twerking and grinding against each other in the streets.

The suggestive videos have received mixed comments online with some hitting out at the dancing as inappropriate. But others defended partygoers for letting their hair down and ‘having fun’.

Meanwhile laughing gas is set to become illegal by the end of the year, with users facing up to two years in prison.

It comes after waste crews who carried out the carnival clean-up estimated collecting 13 tonnes of laughing gas canisters from the streets.

Kensington and Chelsea Council said crews collected five skips’ full – with an estimate of more than 12,000 canisters.

The nitrous oxide ban was previously unveiled as part of the Government’s anti-social behaviour action plan, with measures including making laughing gas a class C drug, which could see dealers and users facing jail time and unlimited fines.

Secondary legislation has been brought forward yesterday which will control nitrous oxide as a class C substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. The new measures are expected to come into force by the end of the year, the Home Office said.

Nitrous oxide is the third most used drug among 16 to 24-year-olds in England and police have reported links to anti-social behaviour – intimidating gatherings on high streets and in children’s parks, and empty canisters strewn across public spaces.

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