Sean Bryson
Notting Hill Carnival in Jeopardy ?
By Loreen McKellar Caribbean Voice
Racism in Notting Hill - Violence - Corruption - Crime - Political Correctness
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Notting Hill Carnival in Jeopardy ?

By Loreen McKellar Caribbean Voice

The future of London's Notting Hill Carnival, Europe's largest carnival, is in doubt after two men were murdered and 19 stabbing incidents were reported to the police.
Greg Watson 21 of Northolt, West London died from a single stab wound after challenging a youth who had approached his 14 year old female cousin. Abdul Bhatti, a 28 year old salesman from Hounslow, West London died from head injuries after being attacked by a gang who had robbed his friends. This latter incident is being treated by police as a racially-motivated crime. Police officers had filmed a group of 50 youths rampaging through the carnival before Bhattia was killed. The gang were involved in "steaming", a form of robbery which involves large numbers of youths.
The Notting Hill Carnival Trust has offered its sympathy to all the victims of violence at this year's event and said it would work closely with the police to ensure that the perpetrators of the violence were brought to justice.
"The Carnival has always embodied peace and harmony and will not tolerate violence in any form or for any reason," a statement read.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said a witness had described how the gang of mainly black males began targeting Asian stall holders with missiles before battering and kicking Mr Bhatti.
The popular two-day festival held over the August public holiday weekend attracted a crowd of 1.5 million people from all over the world. However, television footage of two youths openingly brandishing knives in a crowded area of the festival shown on national television added weight to fears that the two day event had grown too large for the Metropolitan Police to monitor effectively.
Official statistics recorded an 84 per cent increase in arrests mainly for possession of drugs, thefts and assaults. There were 276 other recorded crimes at the annual event, However, the London Metropolitan Police were accused of "massaging" crime figures for "political reasons".
Glen Smyth, Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation told the BBC "...the level of reported crime is far below that which really happens...There is a significant criminal minority who exploit the Carnival in full knowledge that the police will tread lightly."
Ian Johnston, Assistant Commissioner, Metropolitan Police, criticised police tactics at the Carnival which meant officers were encouraged to ignore non violent crimes. Ann Widdecombe, the shadow Home Secretary called for a review of police handling of the event. She said there was a difference between "ignoring petty crimes such as dropping litter and serious crimes such as drug offences and thefts".
After meeting with The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, The Metropolitan Police have agreed to produce a report on the policing of this year's carnival.
Mr Livingstone conceded that there were serious issues to resolve if the annual event was to continue. "...the real problems caused by a tiny criminal majority and, even more importantly, issues of public safety must be addressed."
Among the new safety proposals expected to be on the agenda are an earlier finishing time to reduce after-dark crime, new policing strategies and moving the event from west London's narrow streets to a more open location.
Mr Livingstone, writing in The Independent newspaper, praised the annual festival of Caribbean culture as a testament to London's cultural diversity but said it must not risk becoming a victim of its own success.
"It is that ever-growing popularity which now poses issues of public safety which all of us want to see sensibly resolved," he wrote.
Despite a downpour at midday just as the colourful parade of floats, flamboyantly dressed dancers and Caribbean steel bands was about to start, the streets of west London were packed with spectators.
The event, which featured more than 75 costume bands and two live stages, has its roots in a 1964 street procession aimed at bringing together an Afro-Caribbean community blighted by racism and prejudice.


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