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Notting Hill Carnival - post event comment

News   •   Aug 30, 2017 10:29 BST

Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt, said:“Notting Hill Carnival is always a significant event for London and particularly the communities of west London. This year’s Carnival has been even more poignant as it took place in the shadow of the terrible tragedy at Grenfell Tower only a few weeks ago.

“I’d like to thank the thousands of people who took to the streets last weekend for the respect and consideration they showed to those people directly affected by the fire.

“This year’s Carnival also took place under the shadow of an unprecedented terrorist threat, not only in London but also in Europe. Our planning was significantly impacted by those events, most notably the recent attack in Barcelona.

“This is the reason that this year called for an even greater level of planning for the delivery of Carnival, with all working to the simple objective of making it a safe and secure event for everyone attending to enjoy.

“There were real safety concerns expressed after last year’s event and we’ve been working closely with our partners to deliver on the recommendations from the safety review that took place.

“I would like to pay tribute to the courage and professionalism of the police officers, members of staff and the very experienced command team who have worked tirelessly not just over this long weekend but for the many weeks and months spent planning to keep the public safe.

“Some 7,500 officers were out on the streets on Monday and around 6,000 on the Sunday, which is a huge commitment for the Met. It comes with a cost, both financial and to our people. Supporting the event comes at a time where our organisation is at a level of unprecedented stretch in terms of demand and in terms of mitigating the developing and persistent terrorist threat.

“Together with the City of London Police and British Transport Police we have run a number of operations over the past few weeks to target those people who look to attend Carnival with the intent of committing crime. I’m pleased that all this work resulted in far fewer acts of violence and no one seriously injured.

“However, I do not believe that when policing an event of celebration for London it is acceptable that 31 of my officers were injured. This is better than last year, but it is still too many and it should not be any of our expectations that this violence against police officers takes place.

“We will do all we can working with the Mayor, the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, the Carnival Trust, both local authorities and all those partner agencies that come together to deliver Carnival in order to build on the improvements made together. There will now be a review to look at how last year’s safety review recommendations were implemented and see what lessons can be learned to ensure more progress is made to make Carnival safer in the future.

“Carnival is a celebration and enormous creativity and effort is put in over the year by the Carnivalists to create a spectacle that London can be proud of. That spectacle deserves to be an event that is safely and properly organised, and managed.

“Our policing operation has a significant part of play in delivering a secure event. However I - and I am sure all those who deliver Carnival - do not want to see another year where concerns about the safety of hundreds of people tightly packed into narrow streets continue to exist and we must all work to ensure that appropriate measures are in place next year to avoid this identified risk.”