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Calls to scrap 'discriminatory' gang database

DATA CAPTURE: Met Police

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL UK have backed a call to have the Mayor of London scrap the controversial police gangs database.

The campaign, lead by director of Amnesty International UK Kate Allen and lawyer Imran Khan, 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% of people on it are black, despite the fact that only 27% 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 5% of knife crime is related to ‘gang’ activity.”

It continues: “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 campaigners’ letter requests an "urgent" meeting with Mr Khan and suggested that if the Matrix cannot be overhauled “it is time for it to be scrapped entirely”.

According to a previous report from Amnesty International released this year, the secret database aimed at tackling rising violence in London could lead to black families being evicted from their homes and as well as young people denied access to education or employment.

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