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Massive police presence for Notting Hill carnival

In the wake of the riots earlier this month a sensible London mayor might have ordered the annual orgy of drug and alcohol fuelled violence that is the Notting Hill carnival to be scaled down, cancelled or moved away from the streets of this part of Kensington.

However the event is going ahead as planned with a massive police presence, with the Daily Mail reporting that 10,000 officers will be policing the carnival.

The Notting Hill carnival will see the highest number of police officers on duty in the event’s 47-year history in the wake of the London riots, police sources have said.

Double the number of officers that policed the Royal Wedding will be on duty at the carnival next weekend, with the Met planning 20,000 shifts split over the two-day event.

This compares with 5,000 officers who were on duty for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s April wedding day.
Carnival organisers said about 500 stewards will be on duty, about 100 more than last year, to ensure there is no repeat of the violence seen during the London riots.

Christopher Boothman, one of the organisers of the carnival, said he expects the extra police will be added to reserves that will be on alert at fixed locations around the carnival to respond to any trouble.

‘There are normally significant numbers of police at Notting Hill on the off-chance that something might happen,’ he said.

‘They are in buildings around the carnival and the public probably don’t see them.’

Mr Boothman, a member of the Metropolitan Police Authority, said he hoped policing at the carnival would ‘not be oppressive’ and that ‘there is a balance they (the police) need to get right’.

He said organisers would close the carnival ‘in a staggered fashion’ until about 7pm each day, so people will gradually leave as the event winds down.

Mr Boothman said he was ‘surprised’ by how much support this year’s carnival has received from local residents compared to previous years.

‘Some people are saying we need to reclaim the streets and show people that they can’t stop us doing what we want to do,’ he said.

‘Others think cancelling the event might cause a (violent) reaction.’

The carnival takes place on August 28 and 29, but has in the past been marred by violence.

Despite having 11,000 officers on the streets during 2008, around 40 troublemakers threw bottles and bricks at officers once the carnival had finished, while there were 330 arrests.

In 2009 the number of arrests fell to 215, including a group of 38 youths who had planned violence during the event.

A 15-year-old youth was also stabbed.

Last year there were also two stabbings, resulting in minor injuries to the victims.

There were 230 arrests across the weekend, with most being for drugs offences and public disorder.

The huge number of police compares with the Royal Wedding, which was deemed a terrorist threat.

Among the congregation at Westminster Abbey were armed Scotland Yard officers.
And around 5,000 officers were also manning the streets, including 1,000 who roved among the huge crowds to ensure there was no trouble.

The 5,000 police included close protection officers, firearms squads, PCs from boroughs, territorial support officers, mounted police, specialist search officers and sniffer dogs.

It was also reported that members of the SAS were on standby to deal with any potential attacks.