The Metropolitan Police is to redesign its Gang Violence Matrix database in the latest step to reduce the number of young people it lists.
Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley has made the commitment as Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has reported further sharp reductions in the number of people on the matrix.
This comes in response to persistent concerns that it has disproportionately affected black people in the capital, with inconsistencies with how data has been used and shared.
Rowley said there will be a redesign of the matrix in consultation with the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), including the removal of those deemed to be low risk – under the category of ‘green banding’.
This follows the latest review of the matrix and the release of figures showing the database now contains details of 1,933 individuals, the lowest number since it was set up 2012 and a 49% reduction from its peak of 3,881 in August 2017.
It is also intended to help the Met Police focus resources on those most at risk of being impacted by gang related crime.
New methods and technology
Rowley said: “We acknowledge that the Gangs Violence Matrix does need to be redesigned, taking into account improvements in statistical methods and technologies.
“We know that young men; and in particular young black men, continue to be over-represented on the Matrix. Sadly, there is a reality that levels of violent crime do disproportionally affect young Black men – both in terms of victimisation and offending and our tactics do need to be targeted so we can protect those most at risk.
“However, it is not appropriate that the Matrix further amplifies this disproportionality. As an immediate response, we are removing all the lowest risk individuals. This represents 65%, or more than 1,100 people.”
Khan commented: “We know that gang-related violence still accounts for a significant proportion of the most serious crime 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 how it is used.
“It’s something the new Met Commissioner and I have committed to improving together in order to build a fairer and safer London for everyone.”