Manchester Police stop Caribbean Carnival bans but warn of increased police presence
The warning comes as for the first time since 2006, The Force will not be sending letters to individuals banning them
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Greater Manchester Police have issued a warning to criminals to stay away from the Caribbean Festival and say they have significantly increased police presence.
The warning comes as this year, for the first time since 2006, The Force will not be sending letters to individuals banning them from attending the carnival in Alexander Park, after a legal challenge.
GMP was accused of using “deeply racist” tactics last year after issuing several letters banning dozens of people from the popular event because they had been identified as “either a member of a street gang, affiliated to a street gang” or “perceived by others to be associated to a street gang”.
Campaigners said recipients were not told which of the criteria was believed to apply to them, on what information it was based, and that there was no way to appeal against the bans. They complained there were no similar banning policies for other equal sized events in the city such as Parklife music festival.
In May this year, the organisation Kids of Colour, supported by Liberty, sent a letter to GMP and Manchester city council (MCC), raising concerns that the bans were discriminatory, claiming a disproportionate number of black people and other people of colour were on the receiving end.
On 22 June, Kids of Colour and Liberty sent a formal judicial review pre-action protocol letter to GMP and MCC, threatening legal action.
GMP denied claims of discrimination but responded by stating it would not be sending letters banning people from attending the carnival this year.
They have now issued a statement outlining an increased policing operation to ‘deter, detect and manage situations’
GMP say they are “proud to support Manchester Caribbean Carnival, working in partnership with Manchester City Council and our blue light colleagues to support the community and organisers with running a safe and well-coordinated event.”
Additional police will be on hand for neighbourhood policing, spotting and intelligence gathering, licensing, public safety, traffic, mounted and other roles to ‘deter, detect and manage situations’ and help keep people safe.
During the daytime, officers will be working closely with event organisers, Manchester City Council and security staff to support the safe running of the Caribbean Carnival.
When carnival concludes at 8pm on Saturday and Sunday, there will be an increased police presence on Claremont Road and surrounding streets to provide visual reassurance and prevent the unsafe escalation of evening gatherings.
Superintendent Arif Nawaz, one of the leads for the Caribbean Carnival policing operation, said: “The vast majority of people attend Carnival to simply enjoy the festivities and police preparations are in place to enable them to do so safely.
“Our entire operation is centred around public safety. The trend of unofficial after-parties, involving gatherings outdoors following Carnival events, has unfortunately witnessed antisocial behaviour, criminal activity, and serious violence.
“These large gatherings cause unacceptable issues for our communities and impede emergency vehicles from keeping people safe and well. Officers will be supporting licencing officials to prevent illegal street vendors from setting up and enforcing laws around this activity.
“We are working with neighbouring forces including colleagues from West Yorkshire Police Precision Programme, dedicated to tackling serious and organised crime in the county, and officers will be acting on intelligence to search and intercept anyone in the area suspected to have criminal intentions.
“Please follow the direction of officers, who are committed to keeping people safe. If you see anything suspicious, feel unsafe or have any concerns which require police assistance or support, speak with one of our officers.
“You can also dial 101 or report something you’ve seen or heard online via www.gmp.police.uk. In an emergency, always dial 999.”