Greater Manchester Police won’t sent out carnival banning letters this year
Posted on 04 Aug 2023
- Since 2006, individuals have been banned from the Manchester Caribbean Carnival based on vague criteria
- Kids of Colour, assisted by Liberty, sent an initial letter to GMP and Manchester City Council, raising concerns that the bans were discriminatory
- Now, following the threat of judicial review from Kids of Colour and Liberty, Greater Manchester Police have confirmed that they will not be sending the letters this year.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) have confirmed that they will not be sending letters to individuals banning them from attending Manchester Caribbean Carnival this year, a practice they have engaged with since 2006.
In previous years, dozens of individuals received letters ahead of the Carnival informing them that they were banned from attending based on vague criteria, including being ‘perceived by others to be associated with a street gang’ or ‘involved or linked to serious youth violence’.
Individuals were not told which of the criteria was thought to apply to them, or what information it was based on.
Kids of Colour, supported by Liberty, sent an initial letter to GMP and Manchester City Council (MCC) in May, raising concerns that the bans were discriminatory, given the disproportionate number of Black people and other people of colour targeted and the vague, heavily racialised criteria used to justify the bans, specifically that related to ‘gangs’.
Kids of Colour raised concerns about the lack of transparency around the policy and practice of banning individuals from the Carnival, and the fact that people who were banned were not told which of the banning criteria applied to them or why, and had no way to appeal against the bans.
In addition, there appeared to be no similar banning policies for other equally large-scale events in Manchester, such as Parklife music festival.
Now, following the threat of judicial review from Kids of Colour and Liberty, Greater Manchester Police have confirmed that they will not be sending the letters this year.
A spokesperson for Kids of Colour said:
“Kids of Colour would not challenge these letters if there was any evidence to show they kept Carnival safe. For us, these letters are a small part of a much bigger picture, that picture being unjust, racist ‘gangs’ policing, a practice we know has affected many close to us, such as The Manchester 10 and their loved ones.
“At the core of our organisation, we share with our communities a desire for young people to live their lives fully and joyfully, with long futures ahead of them that they are excited for, free from violence of all kinds.
That requires an infrastructure that is socially just, one in which education, well-being, health, opportunities, housing and more are prioritised, resourced, funded and thriving; a future where all our basic needs, and much more, are met.
“We know there is a long journey ahead towards that desired, safer, future. But we also know that that future is not achieved by bringing discrimination or policing into the lives of our young people under the pretence of ‘safety’.
It is not achieved, by posting racist letters to young people in our city.”
Louise Whitfield, a lawyer at Liberty, said:
“We all have the right to celebrate our culture and participate in our local communities. But these Carnival banning letters, issued by Greater Manchester Police since 2006, prevented people from attending the carnival based on vague and unclear criteria.
“This practice was clearly race discrimination – with people from Black and ethnic minority backgrounds more likely to be targeted.
The practice was entirely opaque, unfair, and therefore unlawful, and there was no legal justification for sending these banning letters.
“We are pleased that following our queries on behalf of Kids of Colour, GMP have decided not to issue the letters this year. They must not send them again in future years.”
Kids of Colour’s full statement can be found here.
Summary of legal grounds we referenced can be found here.
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