London Deploys Knife Detection Arches at Notting Hill Carnival to Deter Weapons

Police hope it will deter people from attending the popular festival while carrying knives
August 24, 2018 Updated: August 26, 2018

LONDON—Knife detection arches are being used at London’s Notting Hill Carnival for the first time, police said.

London’s Metropolitan Police hope that the “tried and tested method” will deter people from attending the popular parade while carrying knives.

About a million visitors are expected to attend the three-day event, which is described on its official website as Europe’s largest street event.

Police said about 13,000 police officers will be on duty during the two-day carnival, the highest number in six years. Almost 7,000 officers are expected to police the event on Monday, Aug. 27, a national holiday day in the UK.

A policeman stands duty at Notting Hill Carnival
About 13,000 police officers will be on duty over the two days of the Carnival. (Met Police)

This is up from the 6,162 officers on the Sunday, which is known as the Carnival’s “family day.”

Officers on duty include those from the Met’s Violent Crime Task Force, who have been deployed “to combat the threat of violent crime.”

Undercover officers, the Force Firearms Unit and the Dog Unit will also be on duty.

The Met said that the arches will be placed in “certain locations” but did not give further details on where the arches will be and if everyone is expected to walk through them.

“Our continued major effort directed against violence across the Capital will continue,” said Police Gold Commander for Carnival, Dave Musker.

Junior Henry avoids being tripped by a member of the public
Junior Henry avoids being tripped by a member of the public as he runs down the road with a knife, having stabbed Rio Andre at the Notting Hill Carnival in London on Aug. 29, 2011. (Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

He added, “Let no one be in any doubt that if you have the intention to come to Carnival and be involved in crime or violence, my officers will robustly and proactively target you to keep Londoners safe.”

Superintendent Elisabeth Chapple, the Met’s spokesperson for the event said, “The sheer number of people coming to Carnival and the relatively small geographical area, means that it is a challenging environment to police.

“We are working closely with the event organisers to ensure that the event is a safe environment where people can come and enjoy themselves. Whilst there’s no specific threat to this event, we are keeping the situation under constant review.”

Knife Attacks Getting Worse

The move comes after a spate of violent crime has hit the capital.

Speaking at the London Knife Crime Summit in June, Met Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt said that violence in London was “getting greater.”

He told the BBC that police were “routinely seeing multiple stabbings.”

He added, “Some of the CCTV footage that we see is shocking and quite frankly feral when you look at a group of individuals bearing down on another person.”

The latest figures from the UK’s Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows that in the year ending March 2018, there was a 16 percent rise in recorded offenses involving a knife or sharp instrument.

Caroline Youell, an analyst at the ONS said the data showed an increase in some “high-harm” offenses such as knife crime.

A general view of the crowd at Notting Hill Carnival
A general view of the crowd at Notting Hill Carnival in London on Aug. 29, 2016. (Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Stay Safe

The Met Police has listed the following advice to help people stay safe during the carnival:

  • Tubes and buses will be busy, so plan your journey in advance
  • Sunday is Children’s Day and traditionally less crowded
  • Go with the flow of the crowd, don’t try and walk against it
  • Have a set meeting place in case you lose family or friends, try not to rely on your mobile phone
  • Don’t bring valuables or wear expensive jewelry
  • Keep your belongings with you at all times
  • Don’t carry too much cash or credit cards
  • Police officers are there to help—sometimes they may ask you to walk a longer route but this will be for the safety of you and others
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