Page last updated at 21:17 GMT, Sunday, 24 August 2008 22:17 UK

Notting Hill Carnival under way

The carnival parade
Children and young people dominated the parade on Sunday

Notting Hill Carnival, Europe's biggest street party which showcases Caribbean culture, has descended on the streets of west London.

More than 750,000 people are expected during the two-day event, which got under way with a children's parade.

The 44th carnival's theme, Welcoming the World, is in keeping with the Olympic handover ceremony in Beijing.

Police have installed metal detectors on the three-mile route to try to stop the carrying of guns and knives.

So far, 98 people have been arrested on suspicion of possession of offensive weapons, assault, drink-driving, public order, theft, street robbery, warrant and drugs offences.

Officers are also on the lookout for dangerous dogs - and have seized seven pit-bull terrier type dogs.

Food consumed at carnival
Five tons of chicken
One ton of rice & peas
One ton of Jamaican patties
30,000 corn cobs
15,000 fried plantains
12,000 mangoes
16,000 coconuts
5m hot and cold drinks
10,000 litres of Jamaican stout
25,000 bottles of rum
70,000 litres of carrot juice

Nine other people were arrested in a pre-Carnival intelligence operation launched earlier this month.

About 64 masquerade, or Mas, bands and 38 sound systems will reverberate at the event over the Bank Holiday weekend.

The carnival also is a celebration of London's ethnic cuisine with 300 stalls serving staple Caribbean fare such as jerk chicken, fried fish, curry goat and Jamaican patties.

Sunday was children's day at the carnival - J'ouvert - with thousands of youngsters parading down the streets in colourful costumes dancing to the beats of steel bands.

The carnival procession passes through Westbourne Grove, Chepstow Avenue, Great Western Road, Kensal Road and Ladbroke Grove, all of which have been closed to traffic since Saturday.

Buses in these areas will be diverted and Tube stations at Holland Park, Ladbroke Grove, Latimer Road, Notting Hill Gate, Royal Oak and Westbourne Park will have restrictions in place to control the crowd.

Police officers in the carnival
Police officers were posted throughout the carnival route

As the first day of the parade coincides with the official handover of the Olympic Games from Beijing to London, a giant screen has been installed at Pleasance Park, near Ladbroke Grove, so that revellers can watch the events from Trafalgar Square.

This year the Metropolitan Police have spent 6m to tighten security along the route.

They have also sent 200 letters to people who might consider committing crime at the carnival warning them to stay away.

Last year several people were stabbed at night after the carnival and there were two shootings, including one where a boy aged 14 was shot in the leg.

Ch Insp Jo Edwards said: "We're doing all we can to bring down knife crime.

"We are really looking to find the people who carry knives. People across London are concerned about knife crime.

"We share their concerns and we are doing all we can to bring down violence."

Over the two-day carnival period up to 11,000 shifts will be worked by officers she said.

London Notting Hill Carnival Limited, the event's organiser, said the carnival would add close to 100m to the city's economy.

Route of the Notting Hill Carnival

DJ honed talent at carnival
19 Aug 08 |  London
Carnival costumes go on display
17 Aug 08 |  London

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2017 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific