Police set up safe areas to avert crush risk at Notting Hill Carnival

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The Independent Online

Anti-crush zones to protect the hundreds of thousands of people attending the Notting Hill Carnival on Sunday and Monday have been set up by the police amid fears of over-crowding.

Anti-crush zones to protect the hundreds of thousands of people attending the Notting Hill Carnival on Sunday and Monday have been set up by the police amid fears of over-crowding.

Some 10,500 officers from the Metropolitan Police will be on duty during the three-day festival in west London that attracts more than a million visitors. This year is the 40th anniversary of Europe's biggest street festival, and the biggest concern for the police is the threat of carnival goers being trampled if the crowds become too dense. Four years ago the police were forced to close the Radio 1 roadshow on the Monday, the busiest day, because officers became concerned about possible crushing.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve House, the police spokesman for this year's event, said: "Crushing is the major concern. Where we think we have pinch points we have cordoned off some areas and we will able to relieve the crowd by letting them into the safe areas."

Attractions pulling in the crowds include the mas - or masquerade, the costumed processions and floats - steel bands and calypso singers. All have their roots in Trinidad. Other entertainment includes 41 sound systems pumping out house, hip hop, R&B and Jamaican roots, reggae and ska. The carnival costs £4.5m to police and is the Met's biggest public order event.

On Saturday, a steel pan competition is being held at Hornimans Pleasance park from 7pm until midnight. The main event starts on Sunday, when the children's carnival runs from 11am to 9pm. The largest crowds will be on Monday, to watch the adult floats from 11am to 9pm, when 4,000 police officers will be on duty.

Not everyone, however, is a fan of the carnival. Forty pensioners are being treated by the local council to a free holiday at Butlins in Bognor Regis.