01 Jan 1970 |

Carnival charges

Notting Hill Carnival could be ticketed, says MP

Police officers look on as members of the London Samba School perform during the parade at Notting Hill Carnival
Image caption The Met Police has said its current staffing levels at the Notting Hill Carnival cannot continue

Views on whether people should be charged to attend the Notting Hill Carnival are to be sought, the MP for Kensington and Chelsea has said.

Lady Victoria Borwick will also ask whether the annual street party – Europe’s largest Afro-Caribbean carnival – should finish before the Monday of the August Bank Holiday. She said there were a number of ideas to try and make the event safer. The Met commissioner has said current policing levels cannot continue.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said he had a “lack of confidence at the moment in the quality of the organisation which is leading to policing having to fill the gap”. About 6,000 officers were deployed to the carnival on Saturday and 7,000 on Sunday on the August bank holiday weekend this year.

There were three major stabbings, including one involving a police officer, and 407 arrests – 57 of those for carrying weapons.

Lady Victoria said she would send out questionnaires to residents in January. Among the options for consideration will be the use of more stewards for the event, which attracted more than a million people over two days this year.

Kensington & Chelsea's questionnaire

She said: “There are a number of ideas around looking at how carnival can be made safer. “In the end it will be down to to the council, the carnival organisers, the community, and the Greater London Authority. “There are a whole range of stakeholders who need to come up with ideas on the future. “We must have a fun carnival, not one where overseas gangs come over to fight.”

The police would not confirm whether that was a specific security issue. But a spokesman said: “There is a need for some change in the way Notting Hill Carnival is managed and policed.” Separately, Kensington and Chelsea Council is running a consultation until 15 January asking 58,000 residents living near the carnival route – mainly north of Notting Hill Gate – for their views.

Questions include whether residents attended the event, what they did and did not like about it and what impact noise, travel disruption and street urination had on them.

The council spends about £500,000 each year for the carnival. Last year, the capital’s main New Year’s Eve event was ticketed.