Police have likened the safety risks at the August bank holiday event to the Hillsborough tragedy.

The safety risks at Notting Hill Carnival could cause a “potentially catastrophic incident,” an official report has warned today (January 17).

At last year’s carnival on the August bank holiday weekend, four people nearly died after being stabbed and the Metropolitan Police recorded 151 violent incidents – an 86% increase from the 2010 carnival.

The report by The London Assembly Police and Crime Committee, titled ‘Notting Hill – safer and better’, states that overcrowding poses “a real risk to safety,” and quotes Met police commander Dave Musker, in charge of policing the event, who references the Hillsborough tragedy.

“Organisers need to give serious consideration to any changes, big or small, that will improve both safety and the overall Carnival experience,” the report states. “We will be looking to the Mayor, LNHCET and its partners to move the debate forward and for action to be taken to improve the safety and quality of Carnival for all involved.”

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

The Met Police had a huge presence around Notting Hill and Ladbroke Grove, with 6,000 officers deployed on the Sunday and 7,000 on the Monday. However, many people reported seeing stop and search powers (known as a section 60 order) used excessively against young black men, levelling criticism at the policing operation.

A comparison has also been made with crime rates at other large-scale UK events like Glastonbury, with Avon and Somerset Police reporting 236 offences at last year’s Glastonbury, with around 175,000 attendees. These rates are comparable with Notting Hill, which has been highlighted again in the light of the LNHCET report.

The report recommends that LNHCET should accept “advice and guidance” from the mayor’s office to help it find a “more formal and financially sustainable footing,’ while also calling for Sadiq Khan to lead a strategic review of public safety.

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