Police make 300 arrests during raids ahead of Europe's biggest street festival Notting Hill Carnival

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Police made more than 300 arrests in a proactive operation ahead of the Notting Hill Carnival, Europe’s biggest street festival.

Scotland Yard said officers had made 316 arrests for a range of offences and recovered 190 knives and 18 firearms in the last 12 days.

Two million people from around the world are expected to attend the festival which takes places over the August Bank Holiday weekend.

Police raids were carried out across the boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea, Lewisham, Westminster and Hammersmith and Fulham in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Officers executed 29 warrants and arrested 26 people during the intelligence-led operations that began at about 4am.

In Lewisham, police seized Class A and Class B drugs.

The majority of offences involved gang crime, drug supply and weapons, Scotland Yard said.

The operations were led by Met Police, including the Territorial Support Group and dogs unit, and with the assistance of City of London and British Transport Police. 

Scotland Yard said some of those arrested would have bail conditions that prevent them from attending Carnival. 

The force also revealed on Tuesday that highly-skilled officers known as “super recognisers” would be on duty at Carnival and in the CCTV control room over the weekend. 

About two million people flock to the area in west London for the three day event every year (Getty Images)

The squad of police officers are skilled at picking out faces from crowds and will help to spot anyone banned from the Bank Holiday festival.

There were more than 450 arrests at last year’s carnival, the highest number since 2010. The policing operation cost £8 million.

The 2016 carnival was policed by 6,000 Met officers on Saturday and Sunday and 7,000 officers on the August Bank Holiday Monday.

Previously Commander Dave Musker, the head of policing the carnival, said last year’s event had come close to a disaster along the scale of the Hillsborough tragedy on at least two occasions.

Notting Hill Carnival ‘a real risk to public safety’, official report warns

Four people were stabbed so seriously at the festival in 2016 that they almost died. 

A report by the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee published earlier this year warned London Mayor Sadiq Khan that an urgent rethink of the festival was needed to keep people safe.

It said overcrowding and a rise in violent crime were the two main issues.

The Mayor has also faced several calls to move the festival, including from Tory Minister for London Greg Hands who asked for it to be moved in the wake of the Grenfell Tower blaze.

Sadiq Khan refuses to move Notting Hill Carnival

About two million people, including performers and spectators flock to the area for the annual carnival in west London each year, which is the world’s second biggest after Rio de Janeiro. 

Chief Superintendent Robyn Williams, the Met’s spokesperson for Notting Hill Carnival, said: “Our officers have been proactive and focused on tackling serious violence and knife crime across London. Today’s operation is aimed at ensuring that those who intend to cause trouble at Carnival are prohibited from doing so. We are committed to ensuring that Carnival remains a safe, vibrant and enjoyable event; troublemakers are not welcome. 

Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Sophie Linden, said: “Notting Hill Carnival is world-renowned as a fantastic celebration of the capital’s community, diversity and vibrant history. It is vital we ensure it is as safe as possible for the many thousands who will attend this weekend. That is why we are sending a clear message to the small minority who may be planning to commit violence or other crimes that this will not be tolerated.”

Scotland Yard said officers will continue to carry out weapons sweeps and stop and search in the run up to the weekend.

Police asked those who are aware of anyone who is planning to use Notting Hill Carnival to commit crime to call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


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