Beds, Herts & Bucks

Luton Carnival 'not overshadowed' by shootings

Sea horses parade at Luton International Carnival 2011
Image caption Organisers said it was "business as usual" for the Luton International Carnival

The Luton International Carnival "will not be overshadowed" by the recent spate of shootings in the town, organisers say.

The United Kingdom Centre for Carnival Arts (UKCCA) said there was no intelligence to suggest there was any reason for the public to worry.

Police confirmed fewer officers than usual would be at Sunday's event.

A spokesman said there was "nothing to suggest the carnival will be targeted in any way, shape or form".

There have been ten incidents where gun shots have been fired in the town this year.

'Business as usual'

UKCCA spokeswoman Emma Courtney said: "As far as we are concerned it's business as usual and we will celebrate Luton for what it does best, a fantastic family day out.

"We have been working closely with the police and the council and are confident we can say it will be a great day and we are not going to let recent events overshadow it."

In 2012 the carnival was moved to July to coincide with the Queen's 60th Jubilee and the Olympic Torch Relay, but this year it returns to the late May Bank Holiday weekend.

The main procession, which makes its way from Wardown Park in Old Bedford Road to the town centre, will take place on Sunday 26 May, rather than the traditional Monday.

Bedfordshire Police said there was reduced police presence because not as many visitors were expected.

'Additional reassurance'

It revealed about 140 officers, special constables and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) would be deployed, supported by British Transport Police assisting those arriving by train.

Ch Supt Mike Colbourne, said: "We will maintain a friendly, fair but firm stance to reassure people coming to the town and help them get around safely and easily."

In addition, joint organisers Luton Borough Council have employed licensed security staff to provide additional reassurance for the public.

UKCCA said that while the event, once billed as Europe's biggest one-day carnival, used to attract over 100,000 visitors, it still expected about 60-70,000 people to attend.

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