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Attacks fuel calls for Notting Hill Carnival to be taken off streets

 (Oliver Quartly)
(Oliver Quartly)

Calls for the Notting Hill Carnival to be moved from the streets of west London grew after pictures emerged of thugs brawling with machetes in front of petrified revellers.

Ken Marsh, chair of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said the festival should be held in a park, as two men remained in hospital today, one in a critical condition, following violence on Monday at the end of the two-day event, during which 75 officers were assaulted.

In one image, a man raises a “zombie knife” in the air yards from terrified carnival-goers.

In another, a hooded and masked thug charges across a street wielding a foot-long machete.

Mr Marsh said his rank-and-file colleagues had become “punchbags”, with over 1,000 reportedly hurt at the festival in the past 10 years.

Moving the event to a park would make it the responsibility of designated private security, he added.

Six police officers were bitten at the weekend and one female officer suffered a sex assault.

 (Chris Strickland)
(Chris Strickland)

Mr Marsh said: “If it was moved to private place and this carnage stopped, the federation would fully support it.

“You can’t have a situation where every year ravaging gangs from outside London come here for one reason - to cause harm, distress and fear on a Bank Holiday Monday.

“You cannot have 75 police officers attacked in one isolated period in one small area of the capital.”

Metropolitan Police Federation chairman Ken Marsh (Metropolitan Police Federation) (PA Media)
Metropolitan Police Federation chairman Ken Marsh (Metropolitan Police Federation) (PA Media)

Tory mayoral candidate Susan Hall agreed that carnival should be moved.

She said: “It’s very upsetting and I’m afraid we have this every single year. It’s an incredible thing, the Notting Hill Carnival. I would just say move it. Move it to where it can be policed much better than where it is now.”

Organisers Notting Hill Carnival Ltd said they “deplore all acts of violence” and those responsible “have nothing to do” with the annual celebration of Caribbean culture and history attended by around two million people.

They added that “last year the Office for National Statistics shows that 12,786 knife offences were carried out in the capital over the 12 months to the end of March, this sadly affects us as much as any community. We will continue to work hard with our partners to protect Notting Hill Carnival and the people who make it so special.”

A spokesman for Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “The Notting Hill Carnival is one of the world’s biggest street festivals and is part of the very fabric of our city.

“It 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.”