Hundreds of local people are to be trained as security stewards to help keep revellers safe at the Notting Hill Carnival.
Notting Hill Carnival 2018: Hundreds of locals trained as security stewards to help keep revellers safe
Matthew Phillip, director of the Carnival Village Trust (CVT), said that of the 1,000-plus security stewards being recruited for the two-day celebration over the August bank holiday weekend, he wanted at least half to be from the community. More than 150 people have been taken on so far, with about 20 people a day now applying.
The first 150 community stewards began their training yesterday with security firm McKenzie Arnold to a Security Industry Association standard. They will earn an NVQ qualification, which will offer them employment opportunities beyond carnival.
On the day, they will work alongside McKenzie Arnold staff and about 9,000 police.
Speaking to the Standard, Mr Phillip said it was part of a more general move to “hand the ownership of carnival back to the community”. He said: “Safety, security is being rethinked. We are hiring stewards from the community who will work alongside professionals. We feel that this will reunite people with the community. They will be representing their home, making people feel safe and welcome and giving them advice. It will be about half of the community volunteers to work alongside police and professionals from McKenzie Arnold. They have a vested interest. It is their community in the spotlight. They want it to look the best it can and for people to have the best time they can.”
Applications for the roles are open until August 17. Mr Phillip said that “honouring and remembering” the victims of the Grenfell fire disaster would also be a priority. “There is no one [in this area] who hasn’t been directly affected,” he said. Speaking on carnival safety Mr Phillip said: “On the whole, carnival is a safe event for its size. It’s just obviously you only hear about the negatives and when things go wrong. We have a violence problem in London generally, this isn’t just something to do with carnival. But we are confident we can create a safe carnival this year.”
Last year more than 300 people were arrested. Most of the arrests were for drugs (112) with 58 for possession of an offensive weapon or knife/blade. The number of arrests was higher in 2016, when more than 450 people were held.
Earlier this year CVT was awarded £100,000 in grant funding from Kensington and Chelsea council to help organise the carnival. Mr Phillip, who is also the leader of the Mangrove Steelband and the director of the Tabernacle events space in Notting Hill, has assembled a team of community members to help deliver the festival, many of whom — like him — have been involved in carnival for 40 years.