The London Notting Hill Carnival is Europe’s largest street parade and celebration of the Carnival Arts, however over many years Notting Hill Carnival (NHC) has also become a popular political and cultural football, providing mainstream media with the opportunity to either intentionally or inadvertently misrepresent facts to the public, authorities and organisations in order to garner support for virtually any agenda.
NHC is growing both in popularity and participation but instead of acknowledging this growth as the success that it is, the mainstream media indulges in the ongoing sport of ‘Carnival Bashing’, and ignores the consistent decrease in crime and disorder by a third (2016-2017, Metropolitan Police UK), the increase of artistic and cultural participation by more than 20% (CAMF Figs) and the positive international reputation as the ‘Safest large scale Caribbean style Carnival in the world’.
The attached Evening Standard article refers to critical reports in an abstract way without contextualising that these reports are the outcome of annual scrutiny, designed specifically to bring about year on year improvement. CAMF (Carnival Arts & Masquerade Foundation) alongside LNHCET (London Notting Hill Carnival Enterprise Trust) and external stakeholders utilise these reports to address each issue with safety and security being our top priority. During the planning process for 2018 CAMF will not be misrepresented by any organisations that are not in possession of the facts.
RBKC (Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea) were very much aware of the enforced involvement of LSE (London Street Events) as part of the registration process for 2017 and LSE’s involvement was as a result of the MOPAC (Mayors Office for Policing & Crime) review in conjunction with other scrutiny documents. The Evening Standard article attached shows clearly RBKC failure to discuss LSE's inexperience in delivering and managing large-scale events, which caused a number of issues, negatively impacting the carnival. LSE had poor record keeping, refused to engage with the LHNCET board and failed to meet their objectives. During a pre Carnival meeting with concerned CAMF members, LSE assured us that their uncooperative and aggressive communications would cease. They did not. In addition to their own technical problems, LSE caused significant problems with the driver registration process compromising the MPS security plan for the event. Quite simply they failed to deliver and during Carnival abandoned their role with no explanation and subsequently no compensation for the participants negatively affected by their negligence. Despite this Carnivalists and LNHCET delivered NHC successfully and reached objectives.
Public and participant safety is of critical importance to CAMF who operate in compliance with Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), operational route management teams & McKenzie Arnold (Stewarding Company). CAMF regard public safety as the remit of ALL Carnival entities, therefore the statement from MPS Commander Musker “Public safety is the responsibility of the organisers not the Police” is both disconcerting and an astonishing abdication of responsibility, which ignores the fact that the ever shrinking foot space for spectators, due to Police enforced road closures, is one of the key causes of crowd management problems, an issue for which the MPS have also sought to absolve their responsibility.
Ticketing NHC will not decrease numbers nor increase space to accommodate the spectators and this is not a practice that is in the spirit of NHC origins. The suggestion that NHC should be run similarly to Pride is an insulting attempt to ignore the specific history and expression of work by united Carnivalists and the community.
The ongoing campaign to remove NHC from the care of Carnivalists has been deliberate and successful over the course of the last 2 years in particular. This campaign has given rise organisations attempting to liquidate NHC and disband LNHCET (a strategy which has been successful in the past). It represents a greed driven desire for profit. CAMF regard this as an unmitigated attack on our artistic culture from both misguided internal Carnivalists and from individuals who do not value or understand the social, cultural and historical contributions of Notting Hill Carnival.
This Article was written by the Carnival Arts and Masquerade Foundation In reply to the article (see: https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/notting-hill-carnival-mustbecome-safer-and-smaller-report-states-a3722786.html)
Trustees of CAMF 20/12/17