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Notting Hill Carnival organisers told crime levels 'unacceptably high'

This year's event, held over the August bank holiday weekend, saw more than 400 arrests made by officers

(Image: Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images)

London's top police officer has slammed the organisation of the Notting Hill Carnival after an influential committee said crime levels are "unacceptably high".

Met Police chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said he would be writing to the organisers, London Notting Hill Carnival Enterprises Trust, with his concerns following high levels of unrest at this year’s event.

He was speaking at the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee on Thursday (September 24), where he was quizzed on the policing and safety of this year’s carnival, as well as proposed budget cuts to the force.

Sir Bernard 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. We’re writing to them about our concerns.”

This year’s carnival saw 400 arrests - the highest number in a decade. On Wednesday (September 23), a 17-year-old youth was detained for stabbing a PC during a fight with other people in Elgin Avenue.

And police have also revealed some of the weapons, including knives, knuckle-dusters and a machete seized during the two-day event.

Also quizzed was former Hammersmith & Fulham leader Stephen Greenhalgh, Conservative mayoral hopeful and deputy mayor for Policing and Crime, Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC).

He 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.”

Chair of the Police and Crime Committee, Joanne McCartney AM, said costs for policing the event must be looked at for the future. She said: “We heard today [Thursday] 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 cooperation 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.”

The Met said 7,000 officers policed the two-day carnival this year.

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