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Notting Hill Carnival's machete brawls and sexual assaults are not manageable, police say

In one clip from a video a youth could be seen running through the streets with a machete
In one clip from a video, a youth could be seen running through the streets with a machete - Oliver Quartly

The level of violence at the Notting Hill Carnival has become “unacceptable and unsustainable” the Metropolitan Police Federation has said.

A police officer was sexually assaulted and six others were bitten this year while footage has emerged of a youth running through the streets with a machete.

Video showed a gang of youths, many of whom were dressed in black and wearing balaclavas, fighting as Europe’s biggest street party descended into violence on its final day.

Two men are in hospital, one in a critical condition, following a spate of stabbings as the carnival drew to a close.

Rick Prior, vice chairman of the federation, said the levels of violence at the carnival in recent years had become unmanageable.


He told The Telegraph: “This level of violence is unacceptable and unsustainable. You can’t have it that every single year come Tuesday morning we’re contemplating these types of injuries, this numbers of injuries and sexual assaults and stabbings. It really is awful.”

Police have previously asked for the carnival to be moved - Chris Strickland

Mr Prior said he understood the significance of the carnival but added that moving the event elsewhere should be considered.

He added: “We’re a free society and, you know, protests and celebrations and carnivals are things where crime happens, and we have to accept that.

“I just think the levels of violence and the levels of crime and the nature of the geographic layout of Notting Hill and with the amount of people that come to this carnival now it just facilitates people with nefarious intent.”

As well as the assaults, Mr Prior said some officers had also been urinated on by people in upper floor windows.

Ade Adelekan, the deputy assistant commissioner who oversaw the policing operation, said it was “regrettable” that for a second year in a row, bank holiday Monday at the carnival had been “marred by serious violence”.

Mr Adelekan said that while the atmosphere for the majority of the weekend was “largely positive” the latter stages of the street party saw a series of violent incidents.

Forensic officers at a scene of a stabbing
Forensic officers at the scene of a stabbing - George Cracknell Wright

In total there were eight stabbings on Monday in separate incidents and 275 arrests across the two days of the carnival for a range of offences.

The Metropolitan Police Federation said that 75 officers were assaulted, six were bitten, one was sexually assaulted and another is in hospital.

Mr Adelekan said that while “nobody disputes the significance of carnival on London’s cultural calendar, we cannot overlook stabbings, sexual assaults and attacks on police officers.”

Officers also seized a firearm during the event and other arrests for a raft of offences included possession of offensive weapons, assaults on police officers, possession of drugs and sexual offences.

The 29-year-old man who was stabbed is in a critical condition in hospital following the incident shortly after 9pm on Monday.

A 19-year-old man is also in a serious but stable condition in hospital after he was stabbed in Ladbroke Grove shortly before 8pm.

Gas canisters collected after the carnival
Nitrous oxide canisters collected after the carnival - SWNS

Last year, police called for the future of the Notting Hill Carnival to be reviewed after one person was murdered, six others were stabbed and dozens of officers assaulted in the first event since 2019.

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

In 2022, a total of 74 officers were injured, many as a result of assaults, and a female constable was sexually assaulted after becoming separated from her colleagues at the event.

An estimated two million people took to the streets of west London over the bank holiday as the carnival celebrated two landmark anniversaries. The introduction of sound systems and mass bands 50 years ago transformed it into a large-scale event and the docking of the Empire Windrush 75 years ago heralded mass immigration from the Caribbean.

The organisers issued a statement after the event, saying: “We deplore all acts of violence, these people have nothing to do with Notting Hill Carnival and its values.”

They added: “We will continue to work hard with our partners to protect Notting Hill Carnival and the people who make it so special.”

Possession of machete to carry two-year jail sentence

Possessing a machete or zombie knife “with no practical use” will carry a jail sentence of up to two years in jail under a crackdown to close loopholes in the law.

Machetes and knives that are designed to look intimidating and threatening will be made illegal under new legislation that is expected to be included in this Autumn’s King’s Speech.

The maximum sentence for anyone possessing, selling, manufacturing or importing the banned weapons will be increased from six months to two years, as will the maximum penalty for sales of knives to under 18s.

Police will also be given new powers to seize and destroy knives found on private premises if there are reasonable grounds to believe the blade would be used in a serious crime.

Under current laws, police cannot seize knives found during a search on a property, even if they had suspicions of criminal use.

The Government will also introduce a new offence for possession of bladed articles with the intention to endanger life or cause fear of violence. At present, offenders can only be prosecuted for carrying a weapon in public or threatening someone with one.

Possession of machete or zombie knife could also become an “aggravating” factor in any weapons offence, which would mean judges could give offenders longer sentence if they used them in any crime.

Policing minister Chris Philp said: “One life lost to knife crime is one too many, and we must do all we can to stop the vile thugs who carry dangerous weapons from their campaign of intimidation and violence.

“Zombie-style knives and machetes serve no other purpose but to inflate criminal egos and endanger lives. There is no reason to own these types of weapons.

“That is why we are banning these knives and making sentencing more severe, so our communities can be reassured that this violent criminality will face the punishments they deserve, and lives will be saved.”