Posted on August 31, 2011

Notting Hill Carnival: Police Hail ‘Peaceful’ Event

BBC News, August 30, 2011

The Notting Hill Carnival has been peaceful, police say, with 245 arrests in total during the two-day event.

Officers are investigating the stabbing of a 20-year-old man near the parade route in west London on Monday.

He is said to be in a serious condition in hospital. Five people–a boy aged 16, three 20-year-old men and a man aged 21–were held over the attack.

More than one million people were expected to attend the carnival, billed as Europe’s biggest street festival.

The festivities drew to a close 90 minutes earlier than last year, at 19:00 BST and there were more than 6,500 police officers on duty.

The annual two-day celebration of Caribbean culture sees parades of colourful costumes and floats run along a procession route from Ladbroke Grove to Westbourne Grove and Chepstow Road, along with about 40 sound systems.

One carnivalgoer told the BBC: “The police have been fantastic today, there’s people from all over the world here representing the carnival and we’re having a good time despite the London riots.”

Another said: “It’s absolutely fantastic, I love Carnival, bring on 2012.”

‘Outstanding support’

Kit Malthouse, deputy mayor of London with responsibility for policing, said carnivalgoers recognised what was at stake after the London riots.

“This year a lot of the floats were on earlier, there was obviously a much bigger policing presence, you can sense a change in the atmosphere from previous years, in that people are kind of on their best behaviour because they know the world is watching,” he said.

Tim Godwin, the Metropolitan (Met) Police’s acting commissioner, said carnival organisers, float drivers and band leaders had all come together and the “support for the police from the committee has been outstanding”.

London Ambulance Service said 241 people were treated at the event, with 27 taken to hospital.

There were two more arrests than last year, when 243 people were detained.

Those held at the weekend were suspected of a variety of offences including drugs possession, public order, theft, criminal damage, robbery and assault, the Met said.

Officers used automatic number plate recognition outside of the carnival area to target potential troublemakers and preventing them from getting to the event.

‘True spirit’

The stabbing happened at about 18:00 BST in Ladbroke Grove and officers said the man was found with possible stab wounds to the abdomen and hand.

At 19:30 BST an area outside a three-storey block of flats on Ladbroke Grove, close to the junction with Kensal Road, was cordoned off after a person suffered serious injuries.

A Met officer said it was believed an object was thrown from a flat window and hit the person on the pavement below.

Met Commander Steve Rodhouse said: “Through effective stop and search we believe we have deterred and prevented trouble from taking place.

“We will make sure that our officers are out stopping the right people.”

More than 70 tonnes of waste was cleared by 170 cleaners and 60 vehicles over three hours on Monday night, Westminster Council said.