Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has claimed that a major overhaul of the Metropolitan Police Gangs Matrix has led to details of 490 people being removed from the database.
It comes after a series of criticisms in which Khan said it disproportionately targeted young black men and the Information Commissioner’s Office highlighted shortcomings in governance and serious data breaches.
Following a review of the Matrix, the number of people included has been reduced by 31% to 2,676, with many of those removed having been given a zero or low risk score because there was no longer evidence they were affiliated with a criminal gang.
The proportion of those from a Black African Caribbean (BAME) background fell from 89% in 2019 to 79% last year, and the number from BAME communities added to the database fell from 83% to 66%. The proportion of under 18s was reduced from 14% to 6%.
In addition, new arrangements are being put in place to limit the number of organisations with access to the data.
Updates and reviews
As a move to improve transparency and build trust, the Metropolitan Police will now publish quarterly updates on the contents of the Matrix and the mayor will carry out annual reviews.
Khan said: “The perceived cloak of secrecy around the Gangs Matrix led to genuine community concerns, which is why I promised in my manifesto to carry out a thorough review to help restore trust and confidence in the way it is used. We are now seeing real progress with the Met acting on all recommendations.
“Our review showed that the Matrix is a necessary enforcement tool for reducing violent crime in London, but it’s also vitally important that the police continue to evaluate and communicate how it is used.”
He added that tackling knife crime and violence in London remains a high priority, with measures including the provision of £70 million in the Young Londoners Fund to divert people away from gangs, and £6 million for early intervention initiatives.
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