HELP FIGHT THE MET’S DISCRIMINATORY GANGS MATRIX

by Liberty and the Civil Liberties Trust

HELP FIGHT THE MET’S DISCRIMINATORY GANGS MATRIX

by Liberty and the Civil Liberties Trust
Liberty and the Civil Liberties Trust
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Liberty challenges injustice, defends freedom and campaigns to make sure everyone in the UK is treated fairly.
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Latest: May 4, 2022

Permission granted – we’re going to court!

The High Court has now granted our clients permission to challenge the Met’s racist Gangs Violence Matrix. This is incredibly exciting news and means that this vital case will be heard in court…

Read more

Please donate to our crowdfunder and help send a clear message to the Met: the Gangs Matrix must go.

We are taking legal action against the Metropolitan Police to challenge the controversial Gangs Violence Matrix – a secretive database of suspected gang members established as part of the response to the 2011 London riots.

The Gangs Matrix is driven by racist stereotypes and disproportionately affects people from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds. The numbers speak for themselves: 79% of people on the Matrix are Black – but just 10% of those convicted of indictable offences in London are Black.

Police can place your details on the list based on unsubstantiated evidence and vague criteria. You can be added because of who your friends and family are, what music you post about on social media, where you live, and where you go. Even being the victim of a gang-related crime can result in a person being placed on the database.

Being on the Matrix can have a devastating impact on a person's life, from increased stop and search to being evicted from their home and excluded from education.

There’s no way of finding out if you are on the Matrix, and no way to appeal against being on there.

We urgently need your support to challenge the Gangs Matrix in court.


About the case

Liberty is acting on behalf of two clients: Awate Suleiman, a musician and writer from London, and UNJUST, a Community Interest Company that challenges unjust and discriminatory policing. Awate has been subjected to over-policing since he was a child and spent years trying to establish whether he was on the Matrix.

Our legal team has launched a judicial review claim against the Met to challenge the lawfulness of the Matrix. Our clients argue that it discriminates against people of colour, particularly Black men, and breaches human rights, data protection requirements and public law principles.


Here’s why our clients are taking action…

Awate Suleiman: 

It was important to know if I was one of the many people on the Gangs Violence Matrix after years of police harassment towards people from my area. The fact that I had to threaten the police with judicial review before they would confirm whether I was on the GVM is not good enough and another indication of the Met’s intention to covertly surveil young, black people.

These practices were normal in colonial times when British officers kept meticulous records of the people they terrorised and abused, but are antithetical to the kind of society we’re meant to live in today."


Katrina Ffrench, founder of UNJUST:

The clandestine nature of the Gangs Matrix must be challenged; everyone has a right to be policed fairly and treated equally before the law. It is hoped that the decade-long wrongs of the Matrix can be remedied in bringing this case.


What needs to change?

We all want to feel safe in our communities, but the Matrix isn’t about keeping us safe – it’s about keeping tabs on and controlling people, with communities of colour and Black people worst affected.

Serious violence is a human rights issue which does incalculable damage to the communities it affects. But we need to tackle the underlying causes, not look to measures which exacerbate them and divide and alienate communities.

The Government should instead invest in community-led interventions which have fairness, participation and human rights at their heart.


Your support

Your donation will help protect Awate and UNJUST from financial risk in going to court and will make sure they can take their case forward.

The Gangs Matrix is discriminatory and unfit for purpose. Please donate what you can and share our case with friends and family.



If any of the funds raised aren’t needed for court costs they will be held by Liberty’s charitable sister organisation the Civil Liberties Trust and donated to UNJUST to support their work challenging discriminatory practices and policies within UK policing and the wider criminal justice system.


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Update 3

Liberty and the Civil Liberties Trust

May 4, 2022

Permission granted – we’re going to court!

The High Court has now granted our clients permission to challenge the Met’s racist Gangs Violence Matrix. This is incredibly exciting news and means that this vital case will be heard in court. We couldn’t have done this without your support – thank you for donating and sharing our campaign.

We now urgently need to raise additional funds to make sure that our clients – Awate Suleiman and UNJUST – are protected from liability for the Met’s legal costs so they can take their case all the way to the final hearing.  

Please donate what you can and share our CrowdJustice page on social media and with friends and family.

 

Unfair and racist

The Gangs Violence Matrix is a deeply unfair and racist policing tool. This secretive police watchlist of suspected ‘gang members’ includes the details of children as young as 13 and disproportionately affects people from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds.

You can be added because of who your friends and family are, where you live, or the music you make and share on social media. Even being the victim of a ‘gang-related’ crime could land you on it.

There is no way of finding out what data is held on you and no right to appeal.


Drastic changes needed

We will argue in Court that the Gangs Violence Matrix violates people’s human rights, breaches equality and data protection laws, and public law principles. We hope that this case will lead to drastic changes to the Matrix, including greater transparency, tighter regulation, and the introduction of a right of appeal against being added to the Matrix.

Please donate what you can to help us take this crucial case forward. 

We will keep you updated as the case progresses.

Update 2

Liberty and the Civil Liberties Trust

Feb. 7, 2022

We’ve reached our initial target!

Thank you so much to all of you who’ve donated and shared. We managed to reach our initial target of £6,500 within the first week which is brilliant news! We’re now aiming for a stretch target of £10,000 and anything you can give will be a huge boost to our case.

Many of you have left moving comments about personal experiences of Police discrimination, and about taking a stand against racism and injustice by supporting our legal challenge. We can’t thank you enough for your generosity and your kind words of support.

Please continue to share our case and give what you can. Let’s make the Met see sense – the Gangs Matrix must go.

Update 1

Liberty and the Civil Liberties Trust

Feb. 2, 2022

We’re halfway there!

A HUGE thank you to all of you who’ve donated to our case so far. Thanks to your incredible generosity we are now over halfway towards reaching our target!

We’ve had some brilliant press coverage of the case this week which will really help raise awareness of the Gangs Matrix and the damage it does to our society. It's not a solution to serious youth violence – it's part of the problem.

It’s been really heartening to read your comments in support of our case. Please continue to donate and share with friends and family to make sure our clients can take the Met to court.

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