Notting Hill Carnival
Police officers standby as performers take part in the Notting Hill Carnival Jack Taylor/Getty Images

London police have made nearly 300 arrests in connection with gang, drug and weapon offences in the run up to the Notting Hill Carnival.

As part of a Met Police operation targeting people that could impact on the safety of the biggest street festival in Europe taking place this Bank Holiday (27-28 August), officers made a series of dawn raids across London, including in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea where the carnival takes place.

In total, 18 people were arrested in Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Wandsworth, as well as a further eight arrests in Lewisham.

Police said the majority the arrests were for possession with intent to supply drugs, but other individuals were accused of gang crime and knife crime offences.

Since 11 August, officers have made over 290 arrests for a range of offences and recovered 190 knives and 18 firearms in the run up to the Notting Hill Carnival.

Some of those arrested may be bailed pending further enquiries and will have bail conditions imposed on them, prohibiting them from attending Carnival. Highly-skilled officers known as 'super recognisers' will also be at Carnival and in the CCTV control room over the weekend, looking for anyone previously banned from the event.

Met Police previously announced plans to roll out facial recognition technology at the festival in order to identify individuals who have been banned from attending carnival.

The move was condemned by human rights campaigners over concerns about its accuracy as well as reports of how facial recognition algorithms can carry racial biases which "could lead to discriminatory policing".

Chief Superintendent Robyn Williams, Met Police's spokesperson for Notting Hill Carnival, said: "Our officers have been proactive and focused on tackling serious violence and knife crime across London.

"Today's operation [22 August] is aimed at ensuring that those who intend to cause trouble at Carnival are prohibited from doing so. We are committed to ensuring that Carnival remains a safe, vibrant and enjoyable event; troublemakers are not welcome."

Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Sophie Linden, said: "Notting Hill Carnival is world-renowned as a fantastic celebration of the capital's community, diversity and vibrant history. It is vital we ensure it is as safe as possible for the many thousands who will attend this weekend. That is why we are sending a clear message to the small minority who may be planning to commit violence or other crimes that this will not be tolerated.

"The Met have already made hundreds of arrests and recovered significant numbers of weapons, helping to ensure that those looking to attend Carnival for the wrong reasons don't get the chance."

Notting Hill Carnival 2016
Huge crowds the streets pack on the first day of the Notting Hill Carnival 2016Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP