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Carnival concern

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has linked policing and safety of the annual Notting Hill Carnival to proposed budget cuts to the force.

He told the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee on September 24 that police were writing to the carnival organisers about concerns.

Sir Bernard, pictured, said: “The Carnival’s got great tradition but it’s also got great responsibilities ….. We cannot continue to provide policing at that level …. Considering our financial situation, this is the time to draw the line …. It could be done cheaper and better ….. Health and safety can be improved but we cannot take responsibility from the organisers.“ And Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), Stephen Greenhalgh said: “The Greater London Authority (GLA) provides funding for the stewards …. We need a more effective stewarding operation …. There is not a huge pot of money to pay for more stewards…. We want it to be safe and something that people can enjoy.”

After the meeting, the Chair of the Police and Crime Committee, Joanne McCartney said: “We heard today about the scale of the funding cuts and that there needs to be a radical change in the way the Met polices events like the Notting Hill Carnival. In future, a greater degree of co-operation will be necessary between the organisers and the Met to ensure that costs can be mitigated as much as possible. This wonderful cultural event needs to continue its proud tradition but the crime levels are currently unacceptable.”

Police did say that it was a mainly trouble-free Notting Hill Carnival over the bank holiday weekend. An anti-social behaviour dispersal zone was introduced for the first time at the 2015 Carnival; some 134 people were issued with dispersal notices, meaning they had to leave the area, or face arrest.

For some years stewarding of the carnival has been by the Braintree-based event security and crowd management contractor McKenzie Arnold Group.

Visit http://www.mckenziearnold.com and http://www.thelondonnottinghillcarnival.com.

For a webcast of the committee, visit http://www.london.gov.uk/mayor-assembly/london-assembly/webcasts.


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