Stop dancing round the issue of public safety at Notting Hill Carnival
- Notting Hill Carnival is a standout event in London’s cultural calendar, visited by over a million Londoners and tourists each year.
- But crime at Carnival has always been a concern: and now we are seeing a rise in violence. In 2016 the Metropolitan Police recorded 151 offences of violence against the person on Sunday and Monday: an 86 per cent increase on the 81 incidents in 2010. Four stabbings almost became murders.
- Overcrowding poses a significant safety risk, with the Met Police warning of a potentially “catastrophic public safety incident” which could result in loss of life.
- The London Notting Hill Carnival Enterprises Trust Ltd (LNHCET), which organises the Carnival, is run by volunteers with little staffing or resource.
A report published today by the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee – ‘Notting Hill Carnival – safer and better’ – examines the issue of policing and safety at the Carnival.
It highlights that the London Notting Hill Carnival Enterprises Trust needs more help and guidance from the Mayor and the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) to get a grip on public safety at the event, which is attended by over a million Londoners and tourists each year.
One of the main risks for Carnival is overcrowding. This is made all the more acute because of Carnival’s high attendance figures and its street based location.
The report recommends that the Mayor should:
- Help the LNHCET put it on a more formal and financially sustainable footing, giving it greater responsibility and ownership of Carnival.
- In partnership with the LNHCET examine the evidence base for change and consider the range of options—such as changing the parade route or moving elements of Carnival—to improve crowd management and safety.
Chairman of the Police and Crime Committee, Steve O’Connell AM, said:
Alarm bells are ringing. We’re seeing a rise in serious violence at Notting Hill Carnival and an increase in the number of people being injured by weapons. Coupled with the risks around crowd control, there is a very real threat of serious harm to a large number of people.
We want Carnival to succeed, but it has reached a tipping point where the status quo is not an option. The previous Mayor got a grip on London’s New Year’s Eve fireworks, the current Mayor now needs to do the same with Notting Hill Carnival.
By working in partnership with the Mayor and MOPAC, organisers should be able to make the changes needed to improve safety and the overall Carnival experience. We must ensure that its success, rather than crime and disorder, becomes the headline story.
Notes to editors
- Metropolitan Police data; and Commander Dave Musker, meeting of the Police and Crime Committee, 3 November 2016.
- ‘Notting Hill Carnival – safer and better’ report.
- Steve O’Connell AM, Chairman of the Police and Crime Committee, is available for interview – see contact details below.
- As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.
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