Notting Hill Carnival

Notting Hill Carnival has once again been hailed a success. The Sunday, apparently 'family day', saw 73 arrests and a couple of stabbings. The main event on the Monday saw around 250 arrests, two stabbings and the recovery of a firearm. Thousands of police officers were deployed at public expense leaving local areas with below minimum numbers. The main carnival area was patrolled by riot trained officers. Here is the experience of one:

"We were ground assigned at 2pm. At 6pm we changed into our riot gear, but kept our flat caps on. We carried our riot helmets (called Nato helmets) but were not allowed to put them on without the authority of senior officers. We had heard on our radios that there had been disturbances at a nearby sector, with groups of 60-70 youths steaming through the crowds and throwing bottles at police. A woman had been stabbed near Rampage. Rampage is a sound system which attracts gangs from across London who seek to control the territory there. The London Ambulance Service refused to go there due to the high risk of injury to their staff.

We ended up near the carnival route. Around 7pm, we noticed a large group of 40-50 surrounding our serial. Seconds later, one of them waved a bandanna in the air, and we were attacked with bottles. We put on our Nato helmets and drew batons as the glass rained down on us. We were supported  by another serial and managed to push the group back. My main memory is of a senior officer turning up and screaming at us to take our Nato helmets off. That's the real face of carnival."

This event costs millions of pounds. The vast majority of people that go there go for the right reasons, however it attracts every tin-pot gangster in London who are intent on attacking the police. The police are expected to take this, and risk injury in the name of public relations. In times of financial hardship, there can no longer be a justification for such a huge drain on public resources.


MPS Probbie said...

It's incredible what our ACPO lords and masters are willing to tolerate in silence for the sake of diversity and 'community'.

No doubt any complaints they make will focus on how expense officers are on the bank holiday, and how we should all work it for free, for the love of the job.

Anonymous said...

I am a carnivalist and (a dj part time) I would like the Carnival committee to reduce the number of sound systems on the back streets, they are not part of the parade and those high numbers are not needed. Some don't even attract any passers by and I agree they promote lingerers with bad intent.

That being said £6m police operation costs plus maybe a further mil or two in grant ... lets say £8m cost. Income £91m in London's coffers according to LDA research. Do the maths.

And for comparison, how much does a football match weekend cost to patrol?

Carnival happens once a year those matches happen 7 months of the year. Come on ... the £6m includes overtime which you guys love for the holidays. I know 'cause my bother in laws a Metty.

Blue Eyes said...

£91m in London's coffers? Not sure how this is calculated. The people selling food and drink make lots of money for sure, but how does any of that end up in the taxpayers' pocket?

I rather liked Ken's proposals to move the carnival to a more sensible place such as Hyde Park.

Surreptitious Evil said...

I wonder what liability there would be on the "senior officer" personally if a policeman was injured as a result of taking his plastic lid off. Nothing, I suspect.

Hence the keenness to be seen being "inclusive and respectful" at the expense of basic safety.

MTG said...

Excuse my straying from topic to mention a serving woman police constable of the highest integrity. Had it not been for this brave officer, yet another miscarriage of justice would have been orchestrated - courtesy of her corrupt male colleagues.

There will be neither praise nor compliments for her on police blogs because she is PC Rachel Webb, the courageous woman who 'dobbed in' that piece of garbage, Sgt Mark Andrews.

As if his main deed was not bad enough, nauseating attempts to cover up his crime have emerged during his trial.

Collusion by officer 'mates' led to perjury in the witness box and these officers did all they could to compromise the case with deceit and lies. Their evidence obliged the trial judge to refer the liars back to their own Chief Constable.

We citizens have seen many attempts by rogue police to compromise justice and there are 'no lessons learned'. In UK courts today, police officers will lie on oath to clear themselves and defeat Justice. Our entire Judicial System has been brought into disrepute by prevalent corruption.

In general we are no longer served by police, save for the brave 'few' and I express fears for reprisals against PC Rachel Webb. Moves may have already been devised to stain by any means, her shining 24 carat character and future career prospects.

I merely ask of our politicians, "When will the much overdue purge of uniformed criminals and traitors, begin?"

The World Weary Detective said...

Fully agree. The worst of all criminals are the ones with warrant cards. This act was one of pure 'red mist'. It was not a mistake, or a result of provocation. Police officers are expected to be able to deal with abuse and threats. That is what we are trained for, and what we are paid for. Cases such as this stain the reputation of decent officers. Those of us left to pick up the pieces are once again believed to be violent corrupt thugs. We cannot do our job without the trust of the public.

MTG said...

I like your response WorldWeary. What a pity we do not have someone like you as chair of the local PACT sessions. Public relations are poor and citizen attendance figures have now dwindled to unity.

When I start a sentence with "I remember..." I am conscious of tripping a few mental bars of Dvorak's New World Hovis ad. However I remember...Almondbury being a village where police and public worked well together. My generation recognised the local Sergeant as an important social figure and he would pop in for tea and cakes with the same informality as the village Doctor.

Many young faces now contort into hate and feign spitting when asked for an opinion of police. The old Sergeant has gone and few, myself included, have any respect for the new regime.

The present partnership is on track for an unhappy dissolution, like the failed marriage of long duration, reluctantly bound for the divorce court.

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