London’s Khan Demands Gang Database Overhauled as 4 in 5 Named Are Black

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 12: (EDITORS NOTE: Part of this image has been pixellated to obscure identity) A suspect is detained and searched by police officers after being arrested for alleged possession of a dangerous weapon near Elephant and Castle Station during Operation Sceptre on July 12, 2017 in London, …
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Labour’s London Mayor Sadiq Khan has called for the Metropolitan Police’s gangs matrix to be overhauled because the vast majority named are young, black men.

A review for the London mayor found that three-quarters were under the age of 25 and 80 per cent were black, with the authors saying that it was a higher proportion than were likely to be perpetrators or victims of gang violence, reports The Guardian.

Alleging potential racial discrimination, the review, published Friday, said, “We must acknowledge the possibility of conscious or unconscious bias against young black males in London – whether the term ‘gang’ is now heavily racially loaded and that this perception that a gang is often comprised of young black males, and ergo that young black males are often in a gang, either directly or unconsciously influences the enforcement focus of the police and subsequent actions of the justice service.”

Mr Khan responded that while he acknowledged the matrix was a useful tool for dealing with gang violence, “to many Londoners, the way it is applied and enforced is a cause for concern and it needs to be comprehensively overhauled to ensure it is used lawfully and proportionately.”

“It’s important these recommendations are carried out quickly and transparently to ensure Londoners have confidence in how it is used by the Met,” he added.

The Metropolitan Police responded by saying that it “does not believe that the Gangs Matrix directly discriminates against any community and that it reflects the disproportionality of violent offenders and victims of violence that are also described in the report.

“We are committed to reducing the disproportionate number of young black men who are victims of gang crime.”

Deputy Assistant Commissioner of Met Operations Duncan Ball was clear to point out that “young black men are disproportionately represented as victims of serious violence and this is an unacceptable position that needs to be addressed. The Matrix helps inform us in doing this.

“The research in the report also shows that when subjects are removed from the Gang Matrix there is a reduction in the number of times they are stopped and searched.

“This dispels some rumours that ex-gang members continue to be targeted even when they are removed from the Gangs Matrix.”

In 2014, then-home secretary Theresa May ordered police to cut the use of stop and search, alleging the tactic was “unfair, especially to young black men.”  Knife crime had soared to a five-year high by the end of 2016.

Mr Khan also put pressure on Scotland to reduce the tactic, claiming it disproportionately affected young, black men, but was forced to u-turn in response to the surge in knife crime in the capital.

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