4pm: Police briefing in Royalty Studios, Lancaster Road, North Kensington
A sense of nervous intrepidation fills the room as cops, some of whom have already had fireworks thrown at them, plan the night ahead. Despite the general high spirits, it's clear they expect trouble. Mug shots of known thugs, some of whom look improbably young, are shown. I notice a tiny note on a police white board in the room, reading 'I hate fireworks.' By the end of the night I fear I'll feel the same.
4.50pm - 5.20pm: On foot patrol with PC Mike Charatan of St Charles Ward Safer Neighbourhood Team
The chemical stench of fireworks filled the air as we walked down St Mark's Road to the Balfour of Burleigh Estate. But good news, we hear over the radio that one of the known targets has already been nabbed for breaching his ASBO. PC Charatan warns revellers after a giant rocket was launched, by accident, into a small child's bedroom. The mum is understandably angry and tells us she's staying inside to avoid trouble. Two rowdy street drinkers are also talked to outside Liquormart.
5.50pm: In the car on Dalgarno Estate
I am gob smacked when North Kensington Inspector Andy Carter tells me that many would-be troublemakers have been taken on a paint balling trip to East London to get them away from the action. Paid for by the council, this seems to me like a reward for kids who misbehave. I suppose it's good for the majority of Kensington and Chelsea residents, who may enjoy a more peaceful night, but if I was a borough taxpayer I'd be fuming.
6.10pm: Fireworks at Maxilla
The community party is in full swing. Fire eaters and drummers entertain the crowds, while hoodies are searched at the entrance. Besides a bit of back chat, one youth calling a woman PC 'princess,' it all seems calm.
6.40pm - 7.15pm: The bonfire
Meet Queen's Park friends Darren, Dunstan and Milena who come to fireworks every year. They are enjoying the atmosphere, which is in full swing as the giant bonfire is lit by the Mayor - clutching a broom stick. A stunning fireworks display tops off the feeling of unity spreading through the W10 crowd. Besides one kid saying 'was that it?' at the end of the display, it has been a roaring success.
7.50pm: Under the Westway
Residents stream out of Maxilla's tiny gates and scores of youths are pulled aside to be searched. They do not seem happy as cops look in their shoes for hidden blades or drugs. I can't help but think they must feel victimised - as the only people being stopped are 15 -20 year old boys - but Insp Claire Clark explains that this might not be the case. "You're more likely to be stabbed if you're carrying a knife," she said, "It's something positive." I'm told that the next two hours will be crucial.
8pm - 9pm: Ladbroke Grove tube
Crowds of youths build up around Chicken Cottage and Red Plant Pizza by Ladbroke Grove station, the scene of last year's violence. But an equally a huge number of police, uniformed and plain clothes, are swarming the surrounding streets. Over time the crowd breaks up, either through boredom or because they have somewhere else to go. Still, the number of youths clutching giant dogs on leads is unnerving. A council worker added that there was an atmosphere and youngsters were showing off.
9.15pm - 10pm: Dogs in Thorpe Close
Besides some youthful high spirit and a terrifying pit bull-type dog lurching towards me in Thorpe Close, it all seems quiet. I have a quick drive around the Dalgarno Estate and am cheered by the amount of youngsters having fun in the community centre in Dalgarno Way. Some drunks are brandishing rockets outside a pub in Ladbroke Grove, but they don't seem intent on lighting them. Thank God.