Scores arrested at Notting Hill Carnival in clampdown
Published 29/08/2011 | 05:00
More than 50 people were arrested at Notting Hill Carnival in London yesterday as Scotland Yard faced its biggest public order test since the UK riots earlier this month.
More than 5,500 police officers took to the streets as revellers descended on the capital for Europe's biggest street festival. It is expected that more than a million people will attend the two-day event.
Last night, 53 arrests had been made for a variety of offences, including drugs possession, public order, theft, criminal damage, robbery and assault, the Met Police said.
With London's reputation at stake in the wake of widespread violence and looting earlier this month, police chiefs launched their "robust" strategy against troublemakers by making more than 40 pre-emptive arrests and agreeing an earlier finish time with organisers.
While 5,500 officers were on patrol in the carnival area yesterday, this figure has been beefed up to 6,500 today.
London Mayor Boris Johnson has issued a rallying call to "let the true spirit of London shine through", hoping the carnival will help heal wounds left by the riots.
"It's right that the carnival goes ahead so we can show the world that the overwhelming majority of London's people are decent, law-abiding citizens who respect the law, love their city and want to celebrate our vibrant, diverse and historical culture," he said.
Scotland Yard commander Steve Rodhouse previously said troublemakers were plotting disruption via social networking technology.
He said the "degree of chatter" surrounding troublemakers was consistent with previous years -- despite thousands of arrests after the wave of looting and violence that gripped England a few weeks ago.
"Through effective stop-and-search we believe we have deterred and prevented trouble from taking place. We've worked closely with event stewards and have seen huge support from all carnival participants," Mr Rodhouse said.