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OVER 1,000 young black men have been removed from the Metropolitan’s Police Gang Matrix, but nearly 2,000 are still trapped in the “discriminatory” system.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announced that he removed more than 1,000 black Londoners with little to no evidence of links to criminal gangs from the database in February 2021.

The new Met Commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, said that he would now be doing more work to overhaul the system. 

“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,” the top police chief told the Guardian.

“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.”

The London Mayor’s pledge prompted the first major revamp to the Matrix after the 2017 Lammy Review, led by Labour MP David Lammy, which reported how there were growing numbers of young Black men in the Matrix in comparison to their likelihood of offending or their chances of being a victim.  

The drastic overhaul was an attempt by the London Mayor to build trust in Black communities in the capital after admitting that “Black Londoners have less trust in the Met.”

Speaking at the time, Mr Khan said: “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.”

When the overhaul was announced, the Gang Matrix had an 11% fall in the number of black men recorded on the database, meaning that 600 Black men under the age of 25 have been removed.

At its peak, the system had 3,881 people on it in 2017, but now has 1,933 individuals – a 49% drop.

However, anti-racism campaigners still slammed the progress as “long-overdue” and called for the system to be “dismantled in its entirety”.

Oliver Feeley-Sprague, Amnesty International UK’s Military, Security and Police Director, said: “We sounded the alarm over the Met Police’s racist Gangs Matrix years ago, so this review is welcome but long overdue.

“Stigmatising young black men on the basis of the music they listen to, their social media behaviour or who they are associated with is completely unacceptable, damaging numerous people’s lives and further damaging trust in the institution of policing itself.

“Removing those who were wrongly placed in the database was a necessary first step, but Sadiq Khan needs to ensure that the discriminatory apparatus is dismantled in its entirety as just one of many urgent reforms to clean up policing in the capital.”

This content was originally published here.

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