Notting Hill Carnival 2012: Children's day crowds party

About a million people attend the Notting Hill Carnival each year About a million people are expected to attend the Notting Hill Carnival, Europe's largest street party

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The Notting Hill Carnival has begun in west London, with hundreds of youngsters taking part in the children's day which traditionally starts the two-day event.

Thousands cheered costumed dancers through the sunny streets to the beat of steel drums and sound systems.

More than a million revellers are expected to take part, while a total of 12,000 police officers will patrol Europe's biggest street festival.

The carnival is now in its 48th year.

Exotic dancers, vibrant music and the smell of Caribbean food livened up the streets, which feature 40 static sound systems and scores of colourful floats.

'Event to remember'

Lines of traditional floats and brightly costumed dancers paraded along the three-and-a-half mile route.

The party atmosphere saw face-painted children and families dancing on the side-lines and even police officers showed off their moves in front of the crowds.

Hundreds party as Carnival starts

Children and young people from schools, community groups and sports clubs travelled on floats which were decorated with flags, flowers, feathers and jewels.

Met Police officers have arrested 27 people as part of a bid to deal with potential troublemakers.

After last year's festival was marred by the stabbing of a 20-year-old man, officers will be on hand at entrances to the carnival, screening for weapons.

"Well over one million people attend the Notting Hill Carnival every year," said Met commander Bob Broadhurst.

"Given these huge numbers, crime is low. What we want is for those million people to enjoy the event without worrying about the crime and violence that has been caused by the small minority in the past."

He warned visitors to be on their guard against pickpockets and thieves who target people for their phones as they use them to search for directions.

Carnival 2012 The party atmosphere saw face-painted children and families dancing

"Across London we'll use specialist officers and technology to make it as hard as possible for those people identified through intelligence to travel about," said Mr Broadhurst.

"We have been working hard with all the partners involved to support this year's carnival being an event to remember in this special year for our capital."

Care assistant Michaela Popescu, 30, from Ashford, Kent, joined in the fun with her friend's twin daughters Victoria and Theadora Trosheva, aged seven.

"It has been a brilliant day, the music is fantastic - I can feel the rhythm in my heart," she said.

Alaiddin Nabulsi, 60, a stockbroker who lives along the carnival route in Talbot Road, said: "I've been watching the carnival for 30 years and it's still exciting every year.

"I love family day because it's so enjoyable watching the children in the procession with big smiles on their faces dancing. It's a great day."

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