The Metropolitan Police have removed the names of 1,000 young Black men from its controversial gang violence database following a mayoral review.
The database contains the names and details of thousands of people who police believe are at risk of becoming involved in gang activity, giving them a score which shows the probability they will commit an act of gang violence.
Figures recently revealed 80% of names on the list are from a Black, Asian or minority ethnic background.
The review of the database, which has been described as “racially discriminatory”, was ordered by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.
According to analysis by City Hall, the majority of the Black males who have been taken off of the database had very low rates of offending in the year before they were removed, and the year after.
The number of names on the list currently stands at 2,305, which is the lowest level in seven years.
The overhaul of the @MetPoliceUK Gang Violence Matrix is an important step in our mission to improve confidence in our police force amongst Black Londoners.
More than 1,000 young Black Londoners who should not have been on it have now been removed. https://t.co/wDWuhanUSH
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) February 3, 2021
Mr 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.”
He added: “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.”
However, despite the 1,000 names taken off of the list, some are still calling for further reform as 8 out of 10 people listed on the database are still from an African-Caribbean background.
Dr Patrick Williams, a criminologist at Manchester Metropolitan University, who has researched the gang matrix, said: “People are on there because of their associations, not because of their behaviours.
“It’s about where they live, the communities they are from, skin colour and their friends and family. We need answers how this could have happened.
“The fact there were 1,000 whose personal details were held on the police gangs database, which meant their lives were blighted, confirms the database was flawed.”