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Notting Hill Carnival: Met Police hits back at grime star Stormzy in drug row

The police boss says he is "unapologetic" over his efforts to keep the public safe

The Metropolitan Police commander in charge of policing the Notting Hill Carnival has hit back at rapper Stormzy's outrage that the force linked a HUGE heroin seizure to the annual event.

The police boss says he is "unapologetic" over his efforts to keep the public safe, adding "I don't really care what we arrest them for".

Grime artist Stormzy hit out at the Metropolitan Police for linking planned drugs busts carried out early on Tuesday (August 22) morning to the Bank Holiday festivities.

Scotland Yard was unable to confirm it had received prior intelligence that the more than 30 individuals targeted were planning on disrupting the carnival.

David Musker, in charge of policing the carnival, dismissed suggestions that the public had ridiculed the linking of the operation to the carnival, saying: "I think the public would expect us to do what we can to prevent those injuries to people coming to carnival."

He added: "My job is to keep people safe who go to carnival, and I am unapologetic about doing that.

"But that is the point of doing that. To get people who would normally come to carnival to cause problems off the streets before the event."

Police are underfire for linking to seizure of heroin in Catford to the Notting Hill Carnival(Image: @metpoliceuk)

He went on: "I don't really care what we arrest them for. I'll be lawfully audacious, as I can, to get them off the streets.

"So whether they've got heroin, or they've got other class A drugs, drug dealing, serious violence takes place at carnival, we will try and target them and get them off the streets.

"So it's a fallacy to suspect that because they're caught in possession of heroin that they are not coming to carnival."

The raids were part of a three-week crackdown on crime ahead of the carnival in which 656 people arrested by 7am on Friday, and a large number of knives, guns, weapons, drugs and money seized, the Met said.

The Met's tweet about the seizure of what was believed to be a kilogram of uncut heroin in Catford, south-east London, led Stormzy to reply: "How many drugs did you lot seize in the run up to Glastonbury or we only doing tweets like this for black events?"

Last year's carnival drew in huge crowds(Image: Getty Images Europe)

Many Twitter users were quick to back the musician, but others questioned why the rapper had to bring race into the issue, and pointed out that any local drugs seizures ahead of Glastonbury would be carried out by Avon and Somerset Police, rather than the Met.

Asked if she felt it was fair to link the raids to the carnival, chief superintendent Robyn Williams said: "An intelligence-led and proactive response to criminality is the Met's response.

"It isn't exclusive to carnival, we would put it in place for a whole range of large-scale events. In terms of carnival we are uncompromising in our efforts for it to be safe and secure this year."

More than 450 people were arrested over the two days of festivities in 2016, with around 300 detained in the preceding crackdown.

Four people almost died after being stabbed, Mr Musker said.

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