Move the Notting Hill Carnival from West London's narrow streets if Met says it's too dangerous, policing minister says

31 August 2023, 08:39 | Updated: 31 August 2023, 08:50

Chris Philp has backed calls to move the Notting Hill Carnival if police want that
Chris Philp has backed calls to move the Notting Hill Carnival if police want that. Picture: Alamy/LBC/Social media

By Will Taylor

The Notting Hill Carnival should be moved if officers advise it is too difficult to police in West London's streets, a minister has been told.

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The carnival saw its worst violence for years as eight people were stabbed in what the Met said was the highest level of knife crime since 2016.

In horrifying footage, a man ran through the streets brandishing a machete in broad daylight as revellers fled.

Officers warned the Bank Holiday celebration is becoming unsustainable as calls continue for the event - which saw about two million people celebrate Caribbean culture - to be moved, as their colleagues were sexually assaulted and punched.

Now, policing minister Chris Philp said it should be moved if the Met agrees it can't safely watch over it.

Read more: Notting Hill Carnival stabbings at highest level in years as police say it has become 'unsustainable'

Crime and Policing Minister Chris Philp on the Notting Hill Carnival

He told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast: "I think if the police advise that narrow streets make it more dangerous, then I think yes, that should be looked at very, very seriously in light of what happened.

"I think it's reasonable that the carnival goes ahead, we are a free country after all, and if people want to have a carnival... then it's reasonable that goes ahead.

"But it's got to be done safely, and if the police advice is that narrow streets make that difficult, and it's moved into slightly wider streets, that would help, that is something I think the Mayor of London should be looking at seriously."

Susan Hall, the Tory candidate for mayor, proposed moving it to a park earlier in the week.

Read more: Terrifying moment ‘machete-wielding’ youth runs through Notting Hill carnival crowds amid night ‘marred by violence’

The knife violence and machete video led to Rishi Sunak pledging to ban long-bladed knives, and he said during a visit to a police station in Kilburn, north west London, that the weekend's scenes showed "why we need to take action".

A 29-year-old man was in a critical condition in hospital after he was stabbed in Warfield Road just after 9pm on Monday.

This image of a machete-wielding man chasing revellers shocked the city
This image of a machete-wielding man chasing revellers shocked the city. Picture: TikTok
Chris Philp said the Notting Hill Carnival could be moved if needed
Chris Philp said the Notting Hill Carnival could be moved if needed. Picture: Alamy

A 19-year-old was taken to hospital and was in a stable condition after he was stabbed in Ladbroke Grove.

Six other men, all aged between 18 and 40, were also attacked with blades on Monday evening but escaped life-threatening injuries.

The footage of a man wielding a machete has also horrified those already concerned with crime at the carnival.

The Met said it is aware of the video and is investigating.

Some officers fear the carnival is becoming unsustainable for them
Some officers fear the carnival is becoming unsustainable for them. Picture: Alamy

The force made more than 300 arrests over the weekend, including for sexual offences, drug possession and assaults on police officers.

More than 50 officers were attacked, some having been sexually assaulted, kicked or punched.

Kim Marsh, the vice chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents the capitals cops, told The Times: "How is it that the police, every August Bank Holiday weekend, rock up and have dozens assaulted? Tell me anywhere in the world where that happens.

"Unfortunately we have a mayor [Sadiq Khan] who tells everyone it [the carnival] is amazing, is the footprint of London and everyone needs to accept it, full stop.

"However, year after year there is a small [number] of individuals who come with one intent: to assault others, cause harm and disarray."

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