Metal-detecting knife arches are being installed at Notting Hill Carnival for the first time in the hope they will help reassure people it is safe to attend.
After a wave of violent crime in the capital in recent months, the arches will be placed at ‘strategic points’ along the route of the west London street party, though the Metropolitan Police did not disclose where.
It is hoped the ‘tried and tested’ method will put off those planning to arm themselves with knives and offensive weapons but not everybody will be expected to pass through them, according to the Met.
The bank holiday weekend event will also be policed by the highest number of officers in six years.
Superintendent Elisabeth Chapple, Met spokeswoman on the carnival, said: ‘We want people to come to the carnival to enjoy themselves and therefore we want to reassure people there is a significant policing plan in place working in support of the organisers to help them do that.
‘One thing they may see that is a little different is that we are using knife arches.
‘We understand the views of the community around the levels of youth and other violence using knives on our streets and we want to reassure them that it is safe to come to carnival.
“There has been knife crime this year, as in previous years, and we understand the community are concerned about that.
‘When we were planning for Notting Hill alongside the organisers we wanted to make sure we had the fullest range of police tactics to reassure the Londoners that carnival is safe to come to.’
She said they will be placed in the street and ‘people flow through them’, adding: ‘We won’t be specifically selecting people to go through them. They are designed to go with the crowd flow and detect any people who would think of bringing a knife to carnival.’
Some 13,000 officers will be deployed to the two-day event – around 450 more than last year and more than the parades over the past five years.
Almost 7,000 officers, some from the Metropolitan Police’s newly formed Violent Crime Task Force, will be policing Monday’s event to “combat the threat of violent crime”.
This will be up from 6,100 on-duty officers on Sunday’s less busy family day.
Undercover police officers as well as officers from the force firearms and dog unit will be in place.
The event is expected to attract more than one million revellers to its floats, food stalls and music.
The music is set to stop for a 72-second silence in tribute to the 72 people who died following the fire at Grenfell Tower in June 2017.
The tower block is within half-a-mile of the parade route.
Partygoers are advised to plan their journeys ahead, avoid bringing valuables and not carry too much cash.
Supt Chapple added: ‘There are no specific threats to carnival this year but we continue to review the policing plan in relation to it.
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‘We are aware that in previous years there have been a number of incidents but compared with the number of people coming to carnival the number of incidents isn’t significant, but any incident that does affect Londoners we want to provide reassurance.”
Commander Dave Musker, police gold commander for the event, said: ‘The Met seeks to support Notting Hill Carnival Ltd, carnivalists and local communities to deliver a safe and spectacular event over the bank holiday weekend.
‘Our continued major effort directed against violence across the capital will continue.’