Scotland Yard has reprimanded the coordinators of August's Notting Hill Carnival after arrests at the event reached a ten-year high.
Metropolitan Police Service commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe warned organisers that the levels of safety at Europe's biggest street party may not be guaranteed next year, as the number of officers available to police it may be reduced due to budget cuts.
This year, two carnival goers and an officer suffered serious stab wounds, while at least another eight men endured knife wounds. A 17-year-old was jailed for six months for stabbing a police officer. In addition to this, eight police officers were injured in brawls and 407 arrests were made, 57 of which were for possessing a weapon. Over 40 knives were seized, including a machete. In comparison to last year, the overall crime rate increased by 10 percent. Sir Bernard has said that some of the assaults were just centimetres from being a murder, adding he would no longer take responsibility for the safety of revellers, before condemning the event's organisational skills at the London Assembly's police and crime committee yesterday.
He said: "The carnival's got great tradition, but it's also got great responsibilities. We cannot continue to provide policing at that level. Considering our financial situation, this is the time to draw the line. It could be done better, cheaper and, I would argue, safer. It has got to be more professional [...] Health and safety can be improved but we cannot take the responsibility of the organisers. We're writing to them about our concerns."
This year's Carnival cost £6 million and was patrolled by 7,000 officers on double pay because the event falls on a bank holiday. For the first time, officers were given powers to enforce a dispersal zone and remove any revellers considered to be engaging in antisocial behaviour. Police issued 134 people with official notices to disperse, forcing them to leave the event.