Page last updated at 13:09 GMT, Wednesday, 23 July 2008 14:09 UK

Carnival to 'welcome the world'

Mayor Boris Johnson at the Notting Hill Carnival launch
Mr Johnson said he has witnessed the carnival since his childhood

The theme of this year's Notting Hill Carnival is "Welcoming the World" to coincide with the handing over of the Olympic flag from Beijing to London.

In its 44th year, the west London street party is expected to attract 1.5 million people over the August Bank Holiday weekend.

The Olympic flag handover takes place on the Sunday in central London.

Mayor Boris Johnson said the Caribbean Showcase introduced by former mayor Ken Livingstone in 2005 has been scrapped.

The theme, unveiled by the mayor on Wednesday, has been inspired by spectators from across the world and the handing over of the flag.

The handover ceremony, as well as scenes from the carnival, will be beamed on a large screen to be installed at Emslie Horniman's Pleasance Park, near Ladbroke Grove in west London.

This year it's going to be even bigger, better and generally more funkapolitan
London Mayor Boris Johnson

Mr Johnson said his association with the event dates back to his childhood when he and his family stood outside their Ladbroke Grove home "dancing and ululating" to the music.

"It illustrates the energy and colour of our great city and this year's event, coinciding with the official handover ceremony at the Olympic games in Beijing, will even more special."

"This year it's going to be even bigger, better and generally more funkapolitan."

Mr Johnson also said that the Caribbean Showcase in Hyde Park, which has run alongside the carnival since 2005, has been "canned".

Police began an investigation after an internal Greater London Authority inquiry found "cash may have gone missing or has been misappropriated".

Dancers wearing the costume at the launch
About 1.5 million people are expected to go to the carnival

Interim chair of organisers London Notting Hill Carnival Ltd, Allyson Williams, said the party and the flag handover ceremony will show the city's "ability to host world class events".

Ch Insp Jo Edwards said of the police operation for this year's carnival: "We know that knife crime is a concern for Londoners and our response, Operation Blunt 2, is achieving huge success on a day to day basis.

"We will be making use of the tactics from last year and putting in place search operations at entry points throughout the carnival area, making it as hard as possible for people carrying weapons to get into carnival."

The police have also begun identifying "criminals and troublemakers" under Operation Razorback and will send letters to them warning them to keep away from the event.

Officers will also be on the lookout for dangerous dogs after concerns were raised by organisers last year.

This carnival, which is collaborating with carnivals in Rotterdam, Brazil and Nigeria, is expected to add more then 100m to the city's economy.

Carnival crowds take to streets
27 Aug 07 |  London
Carnival's 100m boost to the UK
25 Aug 07 |  London

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