The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has engaged openly with Amnesty International to help with the compilation of their report on the Gang Violence Matrix.
Interviews were carried out with staff at various different levels of the organisation and access was given to a range of data.
The MPS constantly reviews and updates the processes involved in maintaining the matrix. Any perspective that enhances our understanding of gang violence and indicates where we can improve in this challenging area of policing is welcomed.
The Gang Violence Matrix is an intelligence tool used to identify and risk assess gang members in every London borough. Its aim is to reduce gang-related violence and prevent young lives being lost.
The matrix scores gang members from both a victim and an offender perspective.
Some young people identified as part of a gang, may not yet have been drawn into gang violence. These individuals will be offered support to divert them away from activity that may result in either violent offending or them becoming a victim.
It is recommended that all individual borough matrix cohorts are reviewed at least every quarter. The matrix is discussed with borough gang leads at a meeting every four weeks.
When assessing whether someone should be included on the matrix, the threshold is 'someone who has been identified as being a member of a gang and this is corroborated by reliable intelligence from more than one source (e.g. police, partner agencies or community intelligence).' They will only feature on the matrix if they fit this definition.
The scoring system on the matrix is subject to specific timescales, which means nominals convicted or linked to violence can score zero outside of these timescales. A number of those with a zero score may also be in custody therefore not currently offending.
The matrix is shared with the National Probation Service and Community Rehabilitation Company and a number of police forces and Regional Organised Crime Units around the country.
In each London borough, selected information (not the entire matrix) will be shared with community safety partners as part of the Community Safety Partnership working plan in order to specifically reduce crime and disorder. This includes local authorities, the youth offending service, probation, housing, education, and local healthcare providers. This will normally be done as part of a partnership meeting which will take place on a regular basis where gang nominals are discussed.
Information discussed at these meetings is confidential and must not be disseminated further. Boroughs are expected to have a confidential agreement which is read out and signed by all attendees of meetings.
Further, each borough is expected to have Information Sharing Agreements (ISA) in place with any organisation with whom matrix information is shared.
Any action taken by partner organisations should not be instigated solely on a person's name being on the gang matrix.
Similarly, court sentencing outcomes should not be influenced by the gang matrix.
The style of music that someone listens to has no bearing on whether someone is placed on the matrix. However, evidence that someone is glorifying gang violence in a music video posted on social media can be used as an intelligence source.
In relation to suggestions of potential racial disproportionality of the matrix, the MPS has actively engaged with David Lammy MP, Amnesty International and the Information Commissioner's office to help understand the approach taken, and we remain committed to ensuring the safety of all Londoners, and especially those most at risk from gang and other violent crimes.