Kensington MP Lady Victoria Borwick has told the Mayor of London that the Notting Hill Carnival is placing the public at risk.
She has written a letter to Sadiq Khan calling for him to hold a “formal and strategic review of the Notting Hill Carnival” following “year on year increase in violence and physical harm to our police officers and members of the public”.
Her comments come after Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe revealed a 15-year-old was disembowelled at this year’s carnival, and after some residents expressed a desire for Europe’s largest street party to relocate to Hyde Park.
An annual review of the event is currently being held with stakeholders contributing. This will be completed by January 2017.
Lady Borwick says significant changes must be made, and hints at moving the annual event, which drew in a million people this year.
She writes: “This is not about minor changes to the route, changes to the floats or the number of loos. We need to all work together to take forward plans for a safe carnival – a carnival that you can bring your children and grandchildren to.”
She goes on to say that "over recent years the carnival has become an excuse for a rave, criminal acts and lewd behaviour that do not show London at its best”, and adds: “If we were planning a London Carnival today, and starting afresh how would this be organised and funded? Where would it take place? Over how many days?
“What lessons have we learned from other events that the Mayor of London supports?”
The MP, who was elected in 2015 when Sir Malcolm Rifkind stood down after becoming embroiled in the cash-for-access scandal, says the review must include carnival organisers, police, local councils, emergency services, hospitals, TFL, residents and local shops.
She concludes: “We have bumbled on for several years, but sadly the increase in violent crime, the thefts, and the type and the quantity of weapons seized, means, in my view, that public safety is at stake.”
Fears the carnival would move to Hyde Park prompted a petition calling for it to be UNESCO-protected.
But one local resident backed the suggestion of relocation, saying the area wasn’t safe during the carnival weekend and that women would urinate in his garden.
During his Commissioner’s Road Show meeting with residents from Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham on October 4, Sir Bernard said organisers of the carnival needed help managing it, and said a thorough review of the event was now being held with input from City Hall, The Met police and organisers.
Discussing the large crowds, he said “a large number of people in a small area” gave the Met “great concern”, and that ticketing could provide it with “a layer of control”.
The carnival organisers, London Notting Hill Carnival Enterprises Trust, is holding a post-Notting Hill Carnival Residents meeting on October 26.
It will be held in the Small Hall at Kensington Town Hall, Hornton Street, from 6.30pm to 8pm.
Anyone with a specific query they would like to raise with the organisers, Kensington and Chelsea Council or other public agency beforehand, should email firstname.lastname@example.org