More than 130 people were arrested on the opening day of the London Notting Hill carnival, police said, reporting that knife-wielding thugs, drug dealers, and sex attackers had descended on its traditionally peaceful ‘family day’.
As of 9.15 pm on Sunday night, London Metropolitan Police said they had detained 20 people on suspicion of possessing offensive weapons, 42 for drugs offences, and seven on public order offences.
A further eight people were arrested for attacking police officers, three people for common assault, two on suspicion of sexual assault, three for theft, and 12 on suspicion of possessing psychoactive drugs, according to The Sun.
The annual carnival, a Caribbean-influenced affair led by black communities in the UK, has been marred by violence and disorder in past years, with the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee warning in an official report last year that the event “poses a real risk to public security”.
Amidst a violent crime wave in the capital which has seen more than 100 murders since the start of 2018, police have taken significant steps to ensure the public’s safety at this year’s event including the deployment of 13,000 officers and knife-detection arches.
The Carnival area is also being subjected to a Section 60 order for the duration of the event which grants officers extra power to frisk suspects after the use of stop and search — a policing tactic branded “racist” by far-left campaigners but life-saving by police — was curbed by Prime Minister Theresa May when she was Home Secretary.
Notting Hill Carnival Gold Commander Dave Musker, said: “On Sunday, my officers along with colleagues from the British Transport Police arrested 133 individuals for a range of offences and 20 weapons were seized, including knives.
“I am confident that the Section 60 order imposed yesterday prevented these dangerous items being brought to Carnival, and based on the intelligence at my disposal, I consider it proportionate and necessary to ensure a safe Carnival today.”
While disorder at the event this year seems to have largely been kept in check compared to past Carnivals including 2017, when officers were attacked with blood, bottles, and acid, not everyone was happy with the step-up in policing.
Judge Warns Rampant Knife Crime Threatens ‘Very Existence’ of Notting Hill Carnival in Sadiq Khan’s London https://t.co/zQzTo85vL5
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 10, 2018
Writing in the Independent, the news website’s ‘Commissioning Editor for Independent Voices’, Kuba Shand-Baptiste, argues that “excessive policing will be the downfall of Notting Hill Carnival in the long run, not crime”.
She writes: “Is there potential for crime and violence at the carnival? Of course. But there’s a threat of trouble at any large public gathering. A great number of which, when they aren’t explicitly tied to black culture, have far more lax security.”
Claiming that “freely basking in cultural festivities” is “the entire point of the Carnival”, Shand-Baptiste slammed policing at the event for acting to “protect the abstract majority the police deem worthy of having a nice carnival time” at the expense of subjecting “hordes of black men to rigorous searches”.