Police said they would be imposing controversial extra stop-and-search powers at Notting Hill Carnival, despite fears the measures see young black Londoners disproportionately targeted.
Scotland Yard said it would be imposing a Section 60 order across the event between 9am and midnight on Sunday. The order allows police to search anyone they suspect of carrying an offensive weapon or those they anticipate to be violent.
Notting Hill Carnival Gold Commander Dave Musker said: “The MPS has worked tirelessly to develop an appropriate and proportionate policing plan; however, given the intelligence picture and incidents of violence I have seen across the city over the last week, I have made the decision to authorise this order as an additional preventative measure.
“The use of this authority will reassure our communities that we are constantly working to protect them. It will also send a message to those intent on committing acts of violence that we will robustly target them.”
“I have not made this decision lightly, but with the safety and security of all those planning to attend this event in the forefront of my mind. I will personally keep this order under constant review, and when I believe this no longer forms part of a proportionate policing plan, it will cease.”
However, stop and search has previously been criticised by civil liberties groups for disproportionately targeting black and ethnic minority communities.
A report by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary last year found black people are at least eight times more likely than white people to be stopped and searched.
And Katrina Ffrench, chief executive of StopWatch, a civil liberties organisation focusing on the police’s use of the tactic, said: “Whilst we understand the need to ensure public safety, we will continue to raise concerns about the ethnic disproportionality that exists within stop and search and also the negative treatment that many young black men receive at the hands of police.
“Being viewed as suspicious on the basis of your race, age, attire or associates causes those most impacted by the S60 to feel criminalised and over-policed rather than protected.
“The number of S60 authorisations across the city in the last year have sky rocketed. We must be mindful not to allow a return to the alarming rates of stop and search that were recorded in the early part of this decade.”
Stop and search is not the only measure the Met plan to use over the two day event. After halting the use of facial recognition technology to identify suspected troublemakers – revoked due to its inaccuracy, the extent to which was revealed by The Independent in May – the police have installed “knife arches” at strategic points along the route of the West London street party.
Although not everybody will be expected to pass through the arches, the Met say they hope it will put off those planning to arm themselves with knives and offensive weapons.
The carnival will be policed by the highest number of officers in six years, with some 13,000 officers deployed – around 450 more than last year.
Additional reporting by Press Association