Posted on December 24, 2018

Sadiq Khan Calls for Overhaul of Scotland Yard’s Gang Matrix As 4 in 5 Names on It Are Shown to Be Black

Sophia Sleigh, Evening Standard, December 21, 2018

Sadiq Khan is calling for an overhaul of Scotland Yard’s controversial gangs database after it was found to include a “disproportionately” high number of young black men.

The Mayor today published a review of the confidential Gangs Matrix, which was created after the 2011 riots to identify those considered at risk of becoming involved in gangs.

City Hall found that of the 3,200 names listed on the database, three quarters are under the age of 25 and four-in-five are black.

It said that while there is evidence the list has helped to reduce offending rates, measures were required to “restore trust” and ensure it is used “lawfully and proportionately”.

The review also said the representation of young black men on the matrix is disproportionate to their likelihood of either causing or being a victim of gang violence and communities have “deep reservations” about how it operates.

It adds: “Further investigation is to be carried out to understand if this disproportionality is legitimate and to be transparent.”

The report comes after an investigation by the UK’s data watchdog accused the Met of “serious breaches” of data protection laws.

Information commissioner Elizabeth Denham said details about individuals suspected of gang involvement were “inappropriately” shared with housing and education authorities, potentially jeopardising their careers and alienating communities.

The Standard revealed earlier this month that the Met is being sued by a 28-year-old man from Newham who claims his name appeared on pages from the database which were leaked onto social media.

Mr Khan said local borough police forces have since deleted their informal gang databases and added: “To many Londoners, the way [the matrix] is applied and enforced is a cause for concern and it needs to be comprehensively overhauled to ensure it is used lawfully and proportionately.”

He said Londoners need “confidence in how it is used by the Met.” The review also called for the matrix to be in line with data laws and have annual reviews.