The highest in more than a decade.

Police made 454 arrests at Notting Hill Carnival over the weekend, the highest number of arrests at the two-day London event in more than a decade.

The Met had a huge presence in Notting Hill and Ladbroke Grove, with 6,000 officers deployed on the Sunday and 7,000 on the Monday.

A section 60 order, which allows a police officer to stop and search a person without suspicion, covered the entirety of the carnival area. Many people reported seeing these stop and search powers used excessively against young black men, levelling criticism at the policing operation. One witness, Ash Sarkar, told the Guardian that she saw searches on both days of the event, including one on Sunday when the suspect was kept handcuffed even after police had established that he was not carrying anything illegal.

Author Ishmahil Blagrove told the Guardian that a comparison of crime rates between the carnival and Glastonbury or other music festivals showed them to be comparable. Avon and Somerset Police reported 236 offences at last year’s Glastonbury, with around 175,000 attendees, while a police statement released yesterday (August 30) reported 454 arrests at Notting Hill Carnival, with up to two million Carnival-goers attending across the weekend.

Police commander Dave Musker explained that there are contributing factors to the increase, including “the recent change in legislation around Psychoactive Drugs,” which “resulted in a high number of drug related arrests and high volume seizures, including Nitrous Oxide.”

According to BBC News, officers seized a large canister of compressed nitrous oxide – AKA ‘laughing gas’ – which had the capacity to fill 2,500 smaller canisters and had a street value of more than £150,000.

“Under the new system we recorded 45 incidents of assault against a police officer, for varying degrees of minor injuries and eight officers’ required anti-viral treatment at hospital as a result of being spat at. Of these 45 incidents, 25 assaults resulted in arrest,” Musker adds.

An anti-social behaviour dispersal zone was also introduced and 47 people were issued with dispersal notices, meaning they had to exit the area and not return within a specific period of time. Facial recognition technology was also trialled for the first time.

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