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EDITIONS
Sunday, 25 August, 2002, 12:49 GMT 13:49 UK
Andy Trotter
BBC BREAKFAST WITH FROST
HOSTED BY GAVIN ESLER
INTERVIEW:
ANDY TROTTER, DEPUTY ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER,
METROPOLITAN POLICE
AUGUST 25TH, 2002


Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used

GAVIN ESLER:
The Notting Hill Carnival starts in a few hours time in West London. This year a new route will be used to reduce fears of overcrowding. I'm joined from Notting Hill by the Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Andy Trotter. Mr Trotter, how difficult is it to police an event, particularly on these narrow streets, in which one and a half million people could turn up?

ANDY TROTTER:
Well it's obviously a hugely popular event and when you've got so many people in these narrow streets, it can cause problems. But public safety is very much on our agenda this year, on the agenda of all the partners who have been working very hard this year to make it a safe carnival and we hope the new route will reduce some of the congestion that has happened in years past.

GAVIN ESLER:
What will you do on - a couple of specific policing issues - what will you do about cannabis, if people light up?

ANDY TROTTER:
Well it's business as usual, there's been no change in the law and if people do openly smoke cannabis it is an arrestable offence and there's always the possibility of them being arrested. But bearing in mind our primary concern is public safety, and those few people who come along to spoil the enjoyment of others, those who come along to rob or pick-pocket or those that carry offensive weapons, they're our real targets and officers will use their discretion to decide upon the seriousness of the offence that can confront them in the streets today.

GAVIN ESLER:
The reason, obviously, I asked you about cannabis is that for some of us there's a bit of a mixed message here - although there has been no change in the law, there seems to have been a change in attitude at least, from the Home Secretary and others, that perhaps softer policing would be more in tune with that kind of mood from the Home Office.

ANDY TROTTER:
There's been a great deal of discussion and some proposed changes in legislation which haven't happened yet. And the law hasn't changed yet. And the problems that our officers face today are no different from those they'll face in any busy high street on any Saturday night during the week - to decide upon the seriousness of the offence that confronts them and the main purpose of what they're doing here. And the main purpose today, as I say, is public safety, making sure everyone can enjoy themselves. And if there is congestion, dealing with that congestion, and if there are people coming along to cause serious crime then we'll deal with those people first.

GAVIN ESLER:
I saw press reports suggesting that you'd managed to ban about 11 people from actually turning up at the carnival. Is that right, and if so how do you do that?

ANDY TROTTER:
We've arrested 11 people prior to carnival for carnival-related offences, we've also arrested a lot more people for a variety of offences and we've asked the courts to impose bail conditions preventing them coming to the carnival. We've also spoken to a number of people we think could cause problems at carnival and advised them to stay away if they're going to cause problems because everyone wants to enjoy these two days - this is a celebration of London's diversity and we don't want to be talking about the crime figures every year.

GAVIN ESLER:
Okay, well let's hope it's a great day, a great two days. Thanks very much. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Andy Trotter there from the Metropolitan Police.

INTERVIEW ENDS

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