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Fedster

Campaigners call on Mayor to have gang database scrapped

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Fedster

City Hall says it is reviewing what the Met says is used to protect people.

Sophie Linden said the tool is under review

Sophie Linden said the tool is under review

Date - 30th October 2018
By - Ian Weinfass and Press Association

 

Campaigners have called on the Mayor of London to intervene to have a police gangs database scrapped.

A group which includes the director of Amnesty International UK Kate Allen and lawyer Imran Khan, known for representing the mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence, claims that Scotland Yard's gangs matrix is racist and the "wrong tool" to tackle the recent rise in violent crime.

In an open letter to Sadiq Khan on Tuesday, they said: "All of us strongly believe the Metropolitan Police's gangs matrix database is the wrong tool for the job.

"The matrix is racially discriminatory: 78 per cent of people on it are black, despite the fact that only 27 per cent of those responsible for serious youth violence in London are black.

"In London, the term 'gang' has become heavily racialised - so much so that it is a significant hindrance to effective policy-making. To demonstrate the point, the Metropolitan Police's own figures show that only five per cent of knife crime is related to 'gang' activity."

It continued: "To achieve the goal of a more peaceful capital city our response to violent crime must be evidence-based, not be tainted by institutional racism and mindful of human rights obligations."

The force staunchly defends use of the matrix, pointing out in May that it is used to identify people at risk as well as those believed to pose a risk.

Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball told politicians at the London Assembly: “There’s a basis for everybody identified as being at risk, or posing a risk. The intelligence picture that’s there means it’s vital we, or our partners, take some sort of intervention to protect those people and that’s why people are on the gangs violence matrix.”

Being on the Matrix could affect access to services such as housing, education and the job centre, Amnesty International has claimed.

Researchers heard some families were threatened with eviction if a young person did not change their behaviour, and one was sent an ultimatum more than a year after their son had died.

The Information Commissioner's Office announced that it was investigating the Matrix, in May.

This week Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Sophie Linden, said: "The mayor has committed to reviewing the gangs matrix and this review should be completed before the end of the year."

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Goldfgy

The article says nothing about how people come to be on the list. It seems to me to be an important question.

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obsidian_eclipse

It's interesting how Amnesty mentions 'youth crime' and is selective in that regards when it comes to the statistics. When you look into them you find that the numbers arrested for offences relating to robbery, drugs or possesion of weapons are double that of white offenders. (Robbery 5% compared to 2%, Drugs 33% compared to 17% and weapons 6% compared to 3%). Whilst it is true that violence against the person is more or less equal between white and black offenders it is rather critical to address these issues.

It seems on one hand that Amnesty would rather choose the most equal statistic and ignore the fact that there are double the number of indictable offences relating to some rather serious crimes. These are more likely to be gang related and having information on the people who are part of these gangs can save lives.

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David

And all the while these campaigners squabble and bicker over databases, another murder takes place.

And another.

And another.

And another.

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Zulu 22

These people  really  make my blood  boil. How can they sit and let crime and isorder magnify dramatically.  Do deaths of youth's not matter to them. Every life is precious to be protected irrespective of colour, gender, race or religion. They would not ask the Fire Service to fight fires with petrol so why try and tie our hands behind our backs. What would help is for all these protester groups to be confined to history.

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David

But Zulu, 22, isn't that the whole premise of such campaigners? Quite happy to wail about and criticise this that and the other (even when part of the solution includes the very issue they are carping on about) without ever submitting any viable or sensible solutions themselves?

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ParochialYokal

One thing that has neglected to be mentioned is that there is a creeping line of thinking that some gang members are themselves victims m, as they may be juveniles that may have been groomed and then exploited in order to carry out crimes.

 

Whilst the criminal justice system should hold them to account for their actions, their wider issues need addressing through a multi-agency approach. Unless you have such a database, how can you target resources in order to address the wider issues of their offending?

 

One of the tactics that gangs often use is to target 14 - 15 year olds and shower them with ‘gifts’ before then turning the tables and requiring the recipient to pay back the ‘debt’ that they have accrued. This then leads to them committing robberies or acting as a runner for drug dealers, such as county line operations.

 

This cohort may have little offending history but often come to the attention of police and that intelligence needs to be used effectively.

 

A database helps to capture those suspected of being associated with gang activity, which helps to minimise the chance of those getting lost in the wider system.

 

 

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Goldfgy

If the database lists all of these people, what is done for , or about them. What efforts are made to discourage criminal activity by these "groomed" youths? 

Edited by Goldfgy
typing error

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Fedster

Met cannot keep lists of people removed from gang database

Information Commissioner says gangs matrix is legitimate but orders force to make a number of changes.

Met cannot keep lists of people removed from gang database

 

Date - 16th November 2018
By - Ian Weinfass - Police Oracle

 

The Metropolitan Police has been told to delete lists of names it holds of people who once appeared on its gangs matrix.

In a move which could have major implications on the future of police-held data the Information Commissioner has found that the force committed multiple breaches of data protection law in relation to its use of the database.

The commissioner accepted the matrix is valid in itself but listed a number of faults including:

  • The matrix does not clearly distinguish between the approach to victims of gang-related crime and the perpetrators;
  • Some boroughs operated informal lists of people who had been removed from the database, meaning that the force continued to monitor people even when intelligence had shown that they were no longer active gang members;
  • Excessive processing of data as a result of blanket sharing with third parties that failed to distinguish between those assessed as high-risk and those as low risk;
  • Serious breaches of data protection laws with the potential to cause damage and distress to the disproportionate number of young, black men on the matrix.

The force must now improve guidance to explain what constitutes a gang member and the intelligence required to demonstrate gang membership, distinguish clearly between who is a gang member and who is a victim of crime, and delete all informal lists of people who no longer on the database.

The Met had maintained that there is a basis for everyone’s inclusion in order to protect them or because they pose a risk.

Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball said in May that removing names from the database could put people in danger.

The Information Commissioner has also today announced an investigation into a data breach at Newham Council involving info from the matrix.

Deputy information commissioner of operations, James Dipple-Johnstone, said: “Protecting the public from violent crime is an important mission and we recognise the unique challenges the [Met] faces in tackling this.

“Our aim is not to prevent this vital work, nor are we saying that the use of a database in this context is not appropriate; we need to ensure that there are suitable policies and processes in place and that these are followed.

“Clear and rigorous oversight and governance is essential, so the personal data of people on the database is protected and the community can have confidence that their information is being used in an appropriate way.”

The probe came about following Amnesty International's research into use of the matrix.

Met Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner for operations Duncan Ball said: "The gangs matrix is an intelligence tool that the Met uses to reduce the impact of gang violence on the communities of London.

“It is designed to assist us in effectively targeting violent offenders and prevent victimisation of those affected by serious crime. We will continue to use the gangs matrix in our work to bring safety to communities.

"We welcome the independent scrutiny of the Information Commissioner's Office and accept the enforcement notice issued against the Met for Data Protection Act breaches with regard to the gangs matrix. We have already started work to ensure that we improve our data handling and information sharing with partners, who are also involved in community safety work.”

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