The Notting Hill Carnival wrapped up its first day without major incidents.
Still, concerns are high as the Metropolitan Police reports an increase in arrests related to assaults on police officers and sexual assault.
A Day Unlike Any Other
In an extraordinary move, the Metropolitan Police decided, for the first time in 19 years, not to release officers for annual leave during the Carnival weekend.
Thousands of officers were deployed across the Carnival area on Sunday, aiming to ensure that attendees could safely enjoy the festivities.
Disturbing Trends in Arrests
As of 21:30hrs on Sunday, a total of 85 individuals were arrested for various offences.
Notably, there were ten arrests for assault on a police officer and 11 for sexual assault.
While the numbers from this year’s Notting Hill Carnival are yet to be finalised, it’s noteworthy that ten police officers have already been assaulted as of Sunday evening.
This is a figure that warrants attention, especially considering that Monday—commonly referred to as ‘adults day’—is traditionally the day when most officers are assaulted and the majority of violent incidents occur.
For context, last year’s Carnival saw 74 police officers assaulted, the highest number in recent years.
A Proactive Approach to Safety
A Section 60 order was activated at 18:00hrs, giving officers additional search powers in an attempt to prevent violent incidents.
This move came after a number of arrests for possession of offensive weapons and consultation with community representatives.
Safety Measures for Women and Girls
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Ade Adelekan emphasised the Met’s commitment to tackling violence against women and girls.
The police are working with Safer Spaces to provide safe areas where women and girls can seek advice from trained professionals.
A total of 654 people utilised this service on Sunday alone.
A Continuing Problem
In 2022, 74 police officers were assaulted during the Notting Hill Carnival, marking a sharp rise compared to 52 officers in 2019.
The Met Police Federation described these incidents as “an utter disgrace,” emphasising the emotional toll on officers and their families.
A Plea for Responsibility
“As ever, we saw very large crowds who made their way from across London and beyond. The atmosphere was largely good-natured and positive, with the majority of people having an enjoyable and safe experience,” said Adelekan.
“However, it is unacceptable for our officers to be the target of abuse or assaults.”
As we head into Bank Holiday Monday, the police operation will continue to ensure the safety of Carnival-goers.
Adelekan expressed gratitude to the officers and everyone involved for their hard work and dedication.
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