Nearly 170 from Southwark listed on Met’s gangs matrix

Katherine Johnston (25 March, 2019) Crime

Number peaked at 194 in 2015

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Nearly 170 people from Southwark are now listed on the Met’s gangs matrix- but this is still five per cent fewer than in 2013.

According to the latest figures publicly available, there are 168 people from Southwark on the database of ‘gang’ members and people deemed to be at risk of harm by gangs. This is down from 177 in 2013, and a peak of 194 in 2015.

The data was published in a report by the mayor’s office for policing reviewing the use and purpose of the database after criticisms by Amnesty International over data protection breaches.

The database shares information among other agencies in an attempt to intervene and divert people from gang-related serious violence and crime.

The report’s authors found had a ‘valid purpose’ but had been mired by inconsistency across all 32 London boroughs it is used in, leading to ‘multiple and serious breaches of data protection laws’.

Although the over-representative of young black men on the matrix has been highlighted, the report found that the matrix does appear to help reduce re-offending rates.

Men form 99 per cent, under-25’s form 74 per cent, and those from black African-Caribbean backgrounds form 80 per cent of all people listed.

Six months before being put onto the matrix, 42 per cent of people had received a sanction for an offence. This declines to 39 per cent six months after being listed, and then further to 20 per cent in their last six months before being removed. Levels of violence – experienced as both perpetrators and victims – also seem to decrease in a similar way.

The report recommended that the way the database is operated is completely overhauled to increase trust in the public and make sure it is brought in line with data protection, with a deadline of December 31, 2019. The Met is also expected to publish revised details of how and why someone can be added – and what constitutes ‘evidence’ they are involved in a ‘gang’.

In particular, its authors want the inclusion of people deemed to be low risk reviewed so they are now kept on the controversial list any longer than they need to be.

The matrix was formed after the 2011 London Riots to identify and asses the risk of the most harmful gang members in London and those at risk of joining gangs, based on at least two pieces of evidence.

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