Notting Hill Carnival should be moved if it is not safe, says minister

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

The Notting Hill Carnival should be moved if the Met believes it is no longer safe, a minister has said.

Across the weekend, eight men were stabbed while there were more than 300 arrests, including 57 for assaulting the police.

In one image, a man dressed in black was seen brandishing a machete as the crowd dispersed to escape the violence.

Speaking on Thursday, policing minister Chris Philp said the event should be moved if the Met can’t safely watch over it.

He told LBC’s Nick Ferrari: “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.

“I think it’s reasonable that the carnival goes ahead, we are a free country after all, and if people want to have a carnival... then it’s reasonable that goes ahead.

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

Of the eight stabbed, two were taken to hospital, one of whom, a 29-year-old, was later said to be in a serious but stable condition.

Following the carnival, Metropolitan Police Federation vice chairman Rick Prior said the level of violence at Notting Hill Carnival was “unsustainable”.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, he said: “You can’t have it that every single year come Tuesday morning we’re contemplating these types of injuries, the numbers of injuries and sexual assaults and stabbings. It really is awful.”

Chair of the federation, Ken Marsh, has called for the event to be held in a park to protect those attending and the officers whom he said had become “punchbags”.

The organisers of the carnival, however, said the attacks had “nothing to do with Notting Hill Carnival or its values”.

A statement added: “Carnival is about these communities and people, who dedicate so much time, love, incredible creativity and effort to the parade, sound systems, music, food, costumes and much more that makes up the event.

“We deplore all acts of violence, these people have nothing to do with Notting Hill Carnival and its values.

“Tragically, these incidents are all too common in our society. 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 London 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.

“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. 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.”

A spokesperson for Chelsea and Kensington council said:The Council is a long-term supporter of Carnival, and remains so. We enable its planning and delivery, with safety as a priority, by working with partners – in particular the Met Police, London Ambulance Service, the Mayor of London, and Transport for London.”