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  • Sara Chitseko

Metropolitan police to unveil new "criminal database"


The Metropolitan police are said to have plans for a new "criminal database" which will be called the "Concern Hub." It is being developed in order to identify those at risk of "gang" activity.

However, questions arise as to how this will be any different from the Met's current database known as the "Gangs Matrix." The Gangs Matrix has been rightly criticised for racial profiling, where 78% of those on it are Black youth - a figure far greater than the percentage of serious violence committed by this demographic and 35% have no previous record of violence (Scott, 2019).

The Met police have insisted that the Concern Hub will not make the same mistakes that were made with the Gangs Matrix. However, there continue to be strong feelings of police distrust within Black communities. It is no surprise, when just last year, research showed that the Met police's use of force increased by 79%, with Black men most likely to be on the receiving end (Marsh and Siddique, 2019).

There are serious current and historical failures which have not been addressed in a meaningful way in relation to institutional racism present in a range of institutions, including the police. This has an enormous impact on the routes young people take to deal with conflict, particularly when they are not inclined, or feel unable to seek support from the police services who are supposed to be there to protect them. 

Rather than creating redundant databases that do nothing to support young people and instead may serve to  marginalise them; any new attempt to deal with serious youth violence must meaningfully engage with the lived experiences of young people. This means developing an understanding of young people's experiences of discrimination and ensuring police transparency and accountability when mistakes are made.


REFERENCES

Crisp, W. (2019). New Met gang database sparks privacy and profiling fears. [online] The Independent. Available at: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/concern-hub-metropolitan-police-gang-matrix-database-a8812371.html [Accessed 30 Apr. 2019].

Dodd, V. (2019). Prison increases youth knife-crime reoffending, says police report. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/apr/27/prison-increases-youth-knife-crime-reoffending-says-police-report [Accessed 29 Apr. 2019].


Scott, S. (2019). The Met’s Gangs Matrix is racist policing in its purest form | Stafford Scott. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jan/12/metropolitan-police-gangs-matrix-racist-policing [Accessed 30 Apr. 2019].