With just days to go before the Capital welcomes visitors from around the world to celebrate Notting Hill Carnival, the message from the Met is keep your belongings with you, enjoy the fun and stay safe.
Planning for the event began as soon as last year’s event ended, with the Met working closely with the organisers - the London Notting Hill Carnival Enterprises Trust - and many partners, including Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster City Councils, and TfL.
This year’s planning has focused particularly on revellers making use of the designated entry and exit points to prevent bottlenecks. Those driving vehicles in the parade have been reminded to stick to the pre-arranged departure times, ensuring the event runs smoothly and safely.
Met spokesperson for Carnival, Superintendent Robyn Williams, said:
"This weekend is the highlight of the year, not only for the Caribbean community, but also for many visitors from London and the rest of the country. The Met has worked hard to ensure that Carnival is a safe and enjoyable weekend for everyone who attends and I would ask all Carnival goers to enjoy this family event and make sure that you follow officers’ and stewards’ instructions."
In addition to the officers policing Carnival, highly-skilled officers who can recall offenders’ faces after seeing them briefly either in person or on file - so-called ‘super-recognisers’ - will be monitoring the event live from a CCTV control room. These officers will seek out anyone who has bail conditions which prohibit them from attending the event, as well as quickly identifying offenders committing crime.
This year the Met also has an extra tool in its possession to identify and arrest troublemakers, with a trial of a facial recognition system which can assist in identifying wanted offenders.
The technology involves the use of overt cameras which scan the faces of those passing by and flag up potential matches against a database of custody images. The database has been populated with images of individuals who are forbidden from attending Carnival, as well as individuals wanted by police who it is believed may attend Carnival to commit offences.
If a match is made by the system, officers will be alerted and will seek to speak with the individual to verify their identity, making an arrest if necessary.
The threat level for London has been set at ‘severe’ for some time now and remains at this level for Carnival 2016. Although there is no intelligence to suggest any increased threat to Carnival, police are asking anyone attending to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious to police.
Superintendent Williams concluded: "If you know of anyone who is planning to use this exciting and vibrant event as a cover for crime or violence then let us know and help us keep it safe for you. Call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 and tell us what you know."
For updates throughout Sunday and Monday, follow the Met on Twitter @MetPoliceEvents.
Superintendent Williams' tips for people attending Carnival:
- Public transport will be busy, so check the TfL website and plan your journey in advance. Some stations may be closed or exit-only.
- Go with the flow of the crowd - don't walk against it. Police officers are there to help and sometimes they may ask you to walk a longer route for safety reasons. Police officers will also be handing out maps of the area at the event.
- Have a set meeting place in case you lose family or friends - do not rely on your mobile phone. In fact, try to keep your phone out of sight, to deter thieves.
- Avoid bringing valuables, too much cash or wearing expensive jewellery. These are things which will tempt opportunistic thieves.
- When the party is over, you still need to keep safe, so stay alert as you make your way home.