Met to overhaul ‘racist’ Gangs Matrix after landmark legal challenge

The Metropolitan Police Service has agreed to overhaul its controversial Gangs Violence Matrix, admitting that it needs ‘wholesale change,’ after a landmark legal case brought by Liberty on behalf of Awate Suleiman and UNJUST UK forced them to concede that the operation of the Matrix was unlawful.

In a win for the human rights organisation and its clients, the Met has admitted that the Matrix breached the right to a private and family life. Personal data of those on the Matrix is shared broadly with third parties – putting them at risk of over-policing, school exclusion, eviction, and in some cases being stripped of welfare benefits, deportation or even children being taken into care.

The Met have also accepted that Black people are disproportionately represented on the Matrix and that efforts to address this have not worked, with the latest review of the Matrix showing that 80% of those named on the Matrix were Black.

Adam Straw KC and Tayyiba Bajwa were instructed by Lana Adamou at Liberty who challenged the legality of the Matrix on behalf of Awate Suleiman and UNJUST UK, a community interest company challenging injustice in the criminal justice system, on the grounds that it discriminates against Black people, who are disproportionately represented on the Matrix.

Now, the Met have agreed that people can apply to be informed if they were on the Matrix, and will only be refused if necessary for limited specified reasons, with the Information Commissioner to review refusals upon request.

The case was due to be held at the Royal Courts of Justice next week. However, the Metropolitan Police Service has agreed to an overhaul of the list, with more than a thousand names to be removed as a result of the legal action.

Read the full press release on Liberty’s website here.