Violent end to Notting Hill Carnival

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The Independent Online

The end of the Notting Hill Carnival was marred when a street mob clashed with the police.

More than a million people enjoyed the dazzling spectacle of costumes, dance and music in the capital over the weekend but trouble flared last night when a group of around 40 people hurled bottles and other objects at police officers, Scotland Yard said.



At least one officer was injured after being hit in the face with a bottle, police said. Last night, officers wearing riot gear were deployed to deal with the group that had been causing trouble in Ladbroke Grove for more than two hours, Scotland Yard said.



Chief Insp Jo Edwards said: "Whilst thousands of people came to join in with the fun and spectacle of carnival, once again the event ended with a small minority of people determined to fight and cause trouble.



"For over two hours our officers were faced with a hardcore, mainly of young men, who came to carnival not to enjoy the event but to fight, commit crime and cause trouble.



"Officers had to work hard and deliver a strong interventionist style of policing late into the night to make sure that these criminals were not allowed to take over the streets of Notting Hill. This is not the way anyone can want to see the carnival finish."



She continued: "Through our stop and search, use of screening wands and seizures of dangerous dogs we sent a clear message that carnival is no place for such behaviour as this.



"A fast time intelligence-led operation in Oval managed to stop a large group we believed were headed for the carnival to commit such scenes of disorder.



"No-one wants to see this unique event being overshadowed by such unacceptable behaviour."



The two-day extravaganza, themed Welcoming The World, saw huge crowds party in the streets of west London.



Floats - with themes including Back From Space, Tutti Frutti Sweeties, Creatures Of The Earth and Paradise - snaked their way through the streets as revellers danced and clapped to the sound of steel drums and Caribbean music.



When they had danced up an appetite, visitors were able to sample a diverse range of ethnic cuisine including Caribbean, African and Oriental flavours.



London Mayor Boris Johnson said: "As a former resident of Ladbroke Grove, I have watched the Notting Hill Carnival go from strength to strength each year to become an internationally acclaimed event.



"Nothing beats the sounds of the steel pans, the aroma of delicious Caribbean food and the dazzling colours of the costume parade."



Elaborate and colourful costumes with sequins and feathers were displayed along the 3.5 mile carnival route.



Michael Williams, from organiser London Notting Hill Carnival Ltd, said: "The carnival is the perfect London spectacle to captivate the world with its dazzling array of costumes and music.



"This year's event was enjoyed by more than a million people as the sights and sounds of the Caribbean and other cultures came alive on the streets."



Mark Bonsu, a 19-year-old Surrey University student who lives at Mitcham Common, said he had not seen any trouble at all during the event.



"I've been very impressed. It's been lively and colourful and people are really enjoying themselves," he added.



Police made a total of 197 arrests - they include 59 for drug offences, 25 for carrying an offensive weapon, 40 public order offences, 18 for assault, 11 for theft, seven for drunken behaviour, two sexual offences and two for robbery.



There were also 334 incidents of reported crime.



Chief Insp Edwards said: "The number of arrests is up on last year, but that is predominantly because of proactive policing."



Police used stop-and-search tactics throughout the carnival and at entry points to catch potential criminals.



"The message is that there is no place for knives at the carnival," she said.



"We share the concern of Londoners over the recent spate of knife crime and we are doing all we can to combat that."



Specialist dogs liaison officers impounded 12 dogs yesterday under the Dangerous Dogs Act. Seven dogs were seized on Saturday.



Police last night said they had detained 150 people outside the Oval cricket ground in south-east London in connection with the Notting Hill Carnival.



As part of an intelligence-led operation to prevent crime and disorder at the carnival, officers surrounded 180 youths in Harleyford Road to stop them travelling to Notting Hill.



Members of the group had been involved in disorder in the past, police said.



A further five people were arrested for public order offences and possession of points and blades.



Two others were arrested for public order offences and issued with fixed penalty notices at the scene.

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