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Location of Notting Hill Carnival Could Be Changed Based on Police Recommendation

After eight people were stabbed and 75 officers were assaulted during the Notting Hill Carnival earlier this week, the policing minister said he would look into moving the event from west London if the police advise it.

The festival took place over Sunday and Monday on the streets of the Notting Hill area. Thousands gathered to celebrate Caribbean culture in west London, as police forces were deployed to oversee public safety during the event.

On Tuesday, the Metropolitan police reported that eight people were stabbed at the carnival and 308 people were arrested for offences including possession of offensive weapons, assaults including assaults on police officers, possession of drugs, and sexual offences.

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Speaking to LBC news on Thursday, policing minister Chris Philp said that it was “reasonable” for the carnival to go ahead if it could be done safely.

“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,” Mr. Philp said.

Hundreds of thousands of people went to the carnival, said the minister, adding that the event may need to change location if the police are against holding it in the narrow streets of west London.

The carnival organisers have said they “deplore all acts of violence.” People who committed assault during the event “have nothing to do with Notting Hill Carnival and its values,” they added.

Notting Hill Carnival Ltd said the street festival was about communities and people who “dedicate time, love, music, food, costumes and much more” to make the event happen.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has called the carnival “the fabric of our city,” praising it as “one of the world’s biggest and best street festivals.”

The mayor’s spokesperson said that the event was “born out of the Caribbean community in north Kensington and Notting Hill” and Mr. Khan believes that “it’s only right that this remains its home.”

Conservative candidate Susan Hall, who will be running against Mr. Khan in the 2024 London mayoral election, disagreed. She has urged the carnival organisers to move the event.

“We have this every single year. Move it to where it can be policed much better,” Ms. Hall said, noting that the carnival was very difficult to police and would be better off taking place in a park.

Assault and Knife Crime

The police have been preparing for the carnival with its organisers, local authorities, and other partners. More than 50 officers were assaulted at the event, Met police reported.

The Metropolitan Police Federation, representing more than 30,000 police officers in London, reported that 75 officers suffered assault during the carnival, including biting and sexual assault.

“This is absolutely disgusting. No wonder our members dread policing this event,” the organisation said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Ade Adelekan said that the police cannot overlook the stabbings, sexual assaults, and attacks on police officers that took place.

“It is regrettable that for a second year in a row, Monday night at Carnival has been marred by serious violence,” Mr. Adelekan said.

The police will be reviewing the two-day event and considering “what may need to change in future years.”

Two men, who were stabbed at the event, ended up in critical or serious condition. The government needs to take action to reduce knife crime, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Wednesday. He added that the carnival was “a good illustration.”

Mr. Sunak’s comments came the same day the government introduced a new ban on machetes and zombie-style knives with no practical use.

Under new measures, the police can seize and destroy knives during a search on private property, if there is ground to believe the blade will be used in a serious crime.

Those who possess, sell, import, or manufacture these weapons will face a maximum penalty of two years.

“Zombie-style knives and machetes serve no other purpose but to inflate criminal egos and endanger lives. There is no reason to own these types of weapons,” Mr. Philp said.

The measure follows a government consultation on new knife legislation proposals launched in April.

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