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The Rain Was Never Going to Dampen Carnival

Still, another successful year hasn't stopped certain sections of the British media from focusing on all the wrong things.
All photos: Alia Wilhelm

The weather on Sunday wasn't exactly ideal for a giant street party; when you're out all day dancing, eating barbecued food and trying not to fall over, you hope for sun, not relentless rain and the coolest temperatures we've had in months. Still, that didn't stop anyone who made it to Notting Hill Carnival from celebrating Europe's biggest street party just as voraciously as they do every year.

As is now customary, much of the UK media is leading today with stories of the number of crimes recorded at the event. As we have established, compared to other events of a similar size, fewer crimes are committed at Carnival, yet it is routinely disproportionately policed and given media attention that would suggest it's some unparalleled hotbed of crime.


This year, Scotland Yard enacted the controversial Section 60 order for the two-day event, allowing them to stop-and-search attendees without the need for reasonable suspicion – which may explain the large number of arrests (373), particularly given the fact that at least 141 (37.8 percent if the total) of those held were arrested on suspicion of drug offences (at least 18 were arrested on suspicion of assaulting a police officer, while 65 people were arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon and eight more for sexual offences).

Again, as we've said before, we need to stop defining Carnival by the number of drug arrests; they account for a tiny proportion of the people in attendance; they happen at basically every large-scale British event like this; and, think about it, mostly represent people being found with some weed or NOS canisters on them. Instead, let's remember this year's Carnival for the inspiring, inclusive, colourful reflection of London it actually was.

See photographer Alia Wilhelm's pictures from Sunday below: