Notting Hill Carnival must end after weekend of violence, say police

More than 200 people were arrested at Notting Hill Carnival - Carl Court /Getty Images Europe
More than 200 people were arrested at Notting Hill Carnival – Carl Court /Getty Images Europe

Police in London have called for the future of the Notting Hill Carnival to be reviewed after the first event since 2019 was marred by violence, with one person murdered, six others stabbed and dozens of officers assaulted.

More than 200 people were arrested at the event, which is the biggest street party in Europe, but has not been held since 2019 because of the pandemic.

A 21-year-old man, who had travelled from Bristol to attend the carnival, died after being stabbed in the Ladbroke Grove area on Monday evening.

Takayo Nembhard, a rap artist, was at the carnival with his sister and friends when he was attacked and stabbed in the groin.

Police and paramedics provided first aid treatment at the scene and he was taken to hospital but was pronounced dead a short time later.

Elsewhere, there were six non-fatal stabbings reported and one policing source claimed officers had seized a record number of knives following 441 stop and searches.

Takayo Nembhard, 21, was fatally stabbed on Ladbroke Grove - @tkorstretch/Instagram
Takayo Nembhard, 21, was fatally stabbed on Ladbroke Grove – @tkorstretch/Instagram

A total of 74 officers were injured, many as a result of assaults, and one female constable was reportedly sexually assaulted after becoming separated from her colleagues at the event.

In another incident, a woman was knocked to the ground after being punched in the face by a man.

Footage of the attack was one of a number of shocking violent scenes that were circulated on social media.

The Metropolitan Police Federation has now said the event can no longer be justified given the level of violence that its members are subjected to whenever it takes place.

Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said: “For the last two years my colleagues have spent the August bank holiday not being assaulted in large numbers. Why not? Because the Notting Hill Carnival did not take place.

“But today we are having to again face the fallout from policing the event. The tragedy is that someone has been killed.

“But also 34 of my colleagues have been hurt after coming under attack. One female officer was grabbed in a headlock and sexually assaulted.

Forensics officers at the scene where a 21-year-old man died after being stabbed on the final day of the Notting Hill Carnival - Kirsty O'Connor /PA
Forensics officers at the scene where a 21-year-old man died after being stabbed on the final day of the Notting Hill Carnival – Kirsty O’Connor /PA

“This is completely unacceptable. Every year we argue that this event should not take place but we are not listened to.

“There were 11,000 officers on duty across the weekend. For lots of them, this was their first experience of policing the carnival and they have been left extremely shocked by what they have seen and been subjected to.

“We are simply not listened to and those who support the carnival do not seem to care what happens to police officers. The violence my colleagues face when policing this event seems to be the price we have to pay and that is a completely unacceptable situation.”

‘Drug dealers want to fight and mark their territory’

Roy Ramm, former commander of special operations with the Met, said the community event provided an opportunity for rival drug dealers to incite violence.

He told LBC Radio: “The trouble is, these young men, and it is young men, they want to fight, mark out their territory and sell their drugs. They are determined to wreck it in the evenings. I think it is for the community to reject this.”

Meanwhile, detectives were continuing to investigate the murder of Mr Nembhard, whose girlfriend was pregnant when he was killed.

In a statement, the rapper’s agent, Chris Patrick, said: “As you can imagine, we are all in shock.

“He went to carnival with his younger sister and friends to have a good time. This is the worst possible ending for a talented kid.”

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, said he was “sickened” by the stabbing.

“Violence has no place on our streets and we are doing everything in our power to root it out,” he added.

Police said 209 arrests had been made at the carnival by early Tuesday, including 46 for assault, 36 for possession of drugs, 33 for possession of an offensive weapon, 27 public order offences and eight sexual assaults.

There were 35 arrests the force labelled “other”, 10 for possession of psychoactive substances, seven for drink/drug driving, five for criminal damage and one each for theft and robbery.

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