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Gang violence fears spark Westminster police crackdown ahead of Notting Hill carnival

PUBLISHED: 19:03 27 August 2010 | UPDATED: 17:06 07 September 2010

POLICE surveillance in Westminster has been stepped up ahead of the Notting Hill carnival due to fears of gang violence over the bank holiday weekend. CCTV cameras have been installed across the Westminster neighbourhoods bordering the carnival route incl

POLICE surveillance in Westminster has been stepped up ahead of the Notting Hill carnival due to fears of gang violence over the bank holiday weekend.

CCTV cameras have been installed across the Westminster neighbourhoods bordering the carnival route including Bayswater, Harrow Road, Westbourne Park and Queen's Park

An order permitting the use of Section 60 powers - which allows police to stop and search people without any grounds for suspicion - was also imposed in these areas from 11am yesterday morning.

Chief Inspector Nigel Quantrell, from Westminster Police, said the measures had been taken after officers discovered that rival gangs were planning to go head to head during the carnival celebrations on Sunday and Monday.

He said: "There is intelligence about potential gang violence. Westminster police's response has been to increase patrols and impose a Section 60 order which started yesterday morning at 11am.

"It's reviewed every 24 hours but it's likely to be ongoing until the intelligence says otherwise."

Chief Insp Quantrell's claims have been borne out on the social networking website Twitter, with one user warning of an upcoming clash.

Going under the name Enemy Artist, the user wrote: "I heard from a close reliable source Mozart and South Kilburn mandem are gonna start war wid each other at carnival..."

The police have previously warned about simmering tensions between youths living on the Mozart estate in Westminster, and their rivals in South Kilburn, and said they are working with the community to tackle violent crime on the estates.

In addition to the work of Westminster Police there has been a London-wide crackdown dubbed Operation Razorback which has resulted in 101 arrests.

Led by the Met, the operation has targeted known troublemakers and gang members and a string of dawn raids have been conducted across the capital.

As a result, since the start of August £64,000 in cash has been seized as well as large quantities of drugs including crack cocaine and cannabis.

There was also a wide selection of weapons seized by officers from the Territorial Support Group (TSG) from hunting knives to samurai swords and a firearm.

Chief Inspector Jo Edwards, from the Met Police, said: "Our message is still come to carnival to have fun and enjoy all the wonderful sights and sounds, but don't even think about coming to cause trouble.

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