MP calls on Mayor to rethink Notting Hill Carnival

Victoria Borwick, MP for Kensington

MP calls on Mayor to rethink Notting Hill Carnival

By Stephen Spark

United Kingdom | Thursday 20 October 2016: 8:08 BST

Kensington MP Victoria Borwick has written to London Mayor Sadiq Khan asking him to begin a formal review of Notting Hill Carnival.

This follows the announcement by Metropolitan Police commander Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe that it wants an investigation into the event (see Soca News, socanews.com/news/major-review-of-notting-hill-carnival-due-in-new-year/).

Borwick told Soca News that she hopes the Mayor “will use his convening powers to bring together all those who are involved with this event in order that we can work towards a safer event”.

She added: “The police have commented publicly about their concerns for public safety at the event, and I support the Commissioner of the Police’s call for a fundamental and strategic review of all aspects of the carnival including all stakeholders and the licensing of the event.”

In response to what the MP calls the “year on year increase in violence and physical harm to our police officers and members of the public”, she called on Mayor Khan to hold a “formal and strategic review of the Notting Hill Carnival”.

The letter states: “This not about minor changes to the route, changes to the floats or the number of loos. We need to all work together to take forward plans for a safe carnival – a carnival that you can bring your children and grandchildren to.”

It continues: “…over recent years Carnival has become an excuse for a rave, criminal acts and lewd behaviour that do not show London at its best”.

The Mayor should invite carnival organisers, police, local councils, emergency services, hospitals, Transport for London, residents and local shops to take part in the review, the MP suggested.

A fundamental rethink is needed, Borwick tells the Mayor: “If we were planning a London Carnival today, and starting afresh how would this be organised and funded? Where would it take place? Over how many days? What lessons have we learned from other events that the Mayor of London supports?”

The letter concludes: “We have bumbled on for several years, but sadly the increase in violent crime, the thefts, and the type and the quantity of weapons seized, means, in my view, that public safety is at stake.”

Before this year’s carnival, the Mayor’s Office told Soca News: “The Mayor is a strong supporter of the Notting Hill Carnival. The event is a fantastic celebration of London’s different cultures and communities, which is enjoyed every year by hundreds of thousands of Londoners and tourists. It’s a vital fixture on the capital’s cultural calendar, and the Mayor’s team are working closely with organisers, the Met and others to ensure a safe and smooth event.”

  • LNHCET will hold a meeting with local residents in the Small Hall, Kensington Town Hall, Hornton Street, from 6.30pm to 8pm on Wednesday 26 October. Email any questions or comments for discussion at the meeting to carnival@rbkc.gov.uk.
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