Revellers at the Notting Hill Carnival could be asked to buy tickets for the annual street party for the first time, it emerged today.
The traditional August Bank Holiday Monday finale could also be scrapped in favour of holding the event on the Saturday and Sunday instead, according to proposals being considered by Notting Hill residents.
More stewards could also be brought in to help tackle crime, after police at this year’s Carnival arrested the highest number of people at the event in a decade.
The proposals, which are expected to be controversial with organisers, are among those being put to tens of thousands of Notting Hill residents.
Victoria Borwick, Conservative MP for Kensington, is sending out surveys to local households in the new year seeking their views.
The results will be shared with police and the local council and are likely to form the basis of discussions with Carnival organisers on making improvements.
Many officials have shied away from addressing the security challenges posed by the event to date, viewing it as a “taboo” subject inextricably linked to community relations.
But Lady Borwick said: “We’re trying to open negotiations with the organisers. We know that the police are talking to the council but we also need to get the Carnival community on board.
“They don’t really want to see any changes but we’ve got to be realistic, this is not the Carnival we had ten or even five years ago.
We want it to be a fun family occasion, celebrating the music and the culture, not somewhere people tell terrible stories about crime.”
Scotland Yard criticised the organisation of this year’s event after the overall crime level rose 10 per cent compared with last year. Three people, including a police officer, suffered serious stab wounds while at least eight other men suffered knife wounds. Eight officers were hurt in scuffles and police made 407 arrests, with 57 people held for possessing a weapon.
Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has warned that policing may have to be scaled back in 2016 because of budget cuts, and he can no longer guarantee the safety of revellers. This year over 6,000 police and 400 stewards were responsible for safety each day.
It comes as Kensington & Chelsea council also sent out a survey asking for residents’ views on the annual extravaganza that sees hundreds of thousands of people flood the streets of Notting Hill.
The event costs more than £7 million a year to police while City Hall also provides a £138,000 grant for stewards and the council spends £500,000 on toilet facilities and the clean-up operation.
In her survey, Lady Borwick asked whether Carnival should follow the lead of the New Year’s Eve fireworks and bring in ticketing to help improve safety. Up to one million visitors attend the Carnival over the weekend, according to official estimates.
She asked whether residents would prefer the event to be held on the Saturday and Sunday, rather than the existing Sunday and Monday, to dramatically reduce police overtime costs.
The results are expected in February.