Gangs Matrix


Posted on 13 Feb 2024

UNJUST Righting wrong creating equity

Human rights groups have warned the Metropolitan Police Force is set to repeat the harms of its racist Gangs Matrix in response to news the database will be scrapped and replaced.

UNJUST UK and musician Awate Suleiman, represented by Liberty, took legal action against the Matrix in 2022 and forced the Met to concede it was unlawful and breached people’s human rights.

Almost 15 months after that case concluded, the Met has finally announced it will stop using the Matrix.

But UNJUST UK, Suleiman and Liberty have warned its replacement will repeat the racial discrimination which was embedded in the Matrix.

Katrina Ffrench, Founder of Unjust UK a claimant in the case, said:

“The Gangs Matrix was an unlawful tool the Met used to track young Black men and children for more than a decade, and it’s right that it has finally been scrapped. The State has a duty to uphold human rights and through the Gangs Matrix, it has massively failed in doing that.

“The Met must not repeat the same mistakes by bringing in yet another system that treats Black people unequally and unfairly.”

Awate Suleiman, a claimant in the case, said:

“When I asked the Met if I was on the Gangs Matrix, it took them 30 months to even respond to me. It’s been 15 months since they agreed to scrap the Matrix to the point today where they actually have. The entire process has taken nearly five years to get to this point. It should never have taken this long to scrap something that the rest of us have known for so long was so obviously racist.

“The Gangs Matrix was a relic of colonialism used by the Met Police to target people it thinks nobody cares about. The secretive nature of the Matrix meant anyone could be on it and not know, and many people like me had their mental health damaged and possibilities limited by thinking they were on it.

“While I’m glad the Matrix has at last been dismantled, I’m disappointed that it’s been replaced by yet another system which looks set to repeat this injustice and continue to discriminate against working-class Black people. Instead I want to see funding diverted to programmes that improve our lives – not punish us for being poor and neglected by the state.”

Louise Whitfield, Liberty head of legal casework, said:

“We welcome the fact that the legal action taken by UNJUST and Awate, after years of campaigning, has resulted in the Gangs Matrix being scrapped – but it already looks like the Met has failed to learn the lessons that should have come from this case.

“The Matrix was an unlawful, racist policing tool which breached the human rights of the people who were placed on it. It shouldn’t have taken legal action followed by a 15-month delay for the Met to stop using it. We now have serious concerns that the racial discrimination embedded in the Gangs Matrix is set to be repeated in the Violence Harms Assessment system.

“Instead of rolling out new tools which continue to subject people of colour to racist over-policing, those in power must look instead towards community-led solutions which have social justice, equality, participation and human rights at their heart.”





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