The Metropolitan Police has removed 40% of the names from the Gang Violence Matrix database over the past three years, the mayor of London has said.
Sadiq Khan (pictured) said the more than 1,000 young black people have been removed from the database as there is little or no evidence that they are linked to criminal gangs, bringing the number down to 2,305, a 40% drop from its peak in August 2017 and its lowest in seven years.
Khan joined the critics of the Matrix in December 2018, saying there was evidence that it over-represented young black men.
The new figures also show that the number of under-18s on the database has fallen by 70% since then to 146.
Khan said that City Hall and Met Police analysis has shown the majority of those that have been removed had very low rates of offending and victimisation levels in the year before and the year after being removed – supporting the view that individuals with the lowest harm rating, known as ‘green banding’, should be appropriately removed.
The police force is also publishing quarterly updates online, and the mayor has committed to carrying out annual reviews of the Matrix population to monitor changes.
Question of trust
Khan said: “We simply cannot ignore the fact black Londoners have less trust in the Met and that is why my comprehensive overhaul of the Gang Violence Matrix is so important to improving the trust and confidence London’s diverse communities have in our police.
“As a direct result of the Met acting on my recommendations to make the Matrix database more transparent, effective and more evidence based than ever before, more than 1,000 young Black Londoners who should not have been on it have now been removed. At the same time detection rates have improved.
“We know that gang related violence still accounts for a significant proportion of the most serious violence in London and the Matrix is a necessary enforcement tool as well as a means to support and intervention, but it’s vitally important that the police continue to evaluate, improve and communicate how it is used to address concerns from communities about the disproportionate number of black Londoners and young men on the Matrix.”
Image from Greater London Authority