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In order to participate at the event, each of the 38 designated sound systems appearing at Carnival undergo and adhere to stringent operating policies and health & safety regimes. All of our member sound system sites are fully licensed, operating on either a Temporary Events Notice (TENS) or a Premises Licence which specifies the strict operating hours of between 12pm and 7pm on both of the carnival performance days. It is usual practice for the police to apply conditions to a premises license. In many cases conditions include the requirement to have a specified minimum number of SIA registered security personnel. This generally is a starting point, together with complying with the procedures outlined within the sound systems written Event Plan and Risk Assessment. 

Every legal sound system performing at Carnival is a member of the British Association of Sound Systems.

The issuing of of these licenses and sites are agreed in conjunction with the official organisers of Notting Hill Carnival who are:

1).   Notting Hill Carnival Ltd
2).  The Metropolitan Police
3).  The local authority (in which the specific performing unit or sound system is located) 

There are many who may be unaware that Carnival footprint is spread across 2 boroughs. 
32 of the BASS sound systems are located in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC). 
Only 6 of the BASS sound systems are located in the City of Westminster (WCC). 

The Carnival footprint is divided into 5 policing sectors. 
Different sectors of the footprint present quite different challenges and different approaches are needed to deal with them”  (Chris Boothman, former Director of London Notting Hill Carnival Ltd2).

6-member sound systems are located within WCC - 3 operating under a TENS and 3 have a permanent Premises.
32-member sound systems are located within RBK&C - 14 operating under a TENS and 18 have either a permanent Premises or Temporary Premises. 

Acquiring the individual licenses for the sound systems is not a given right. Applications for BASS sound system licences operating under a TENS, or indeed a Temporary Premises Licence can be problematic. This is due to the nature of the licensing process which deems that re-applications have to be made on a year-to-year basis. BASS have had many experiences and to date have been competent in having to address objections from the police and / or the local authority.   These objections are presented at official licensing sub-committee hearings, which are adjudicated by local councillors. The BASS executive have senior professional members with years of experience. BASS have been very successful in addressing issues and in defending the specific member sound system to obtain a positive outcome at hearings. Details of all such hearings are held on public record with corresponding  documents accessible online or available directly from the local authority. 

Unfortunately, there have occasions where BASS have had no option but to succumb to policing politics which has led to the removal of sound systems.

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