Start your claim

November 22nd 2018

Civil Liberties

Innocent people at risk due to Metropolitan Police’s ‘poorly managed’ Gangs Matrix list and data protection breach

Vicky Richardson

Vicky Richardson

Senior Litigation Executive, Civil Liberties

Innocent people at risk due to Metropolitan Police’s ‘poorly managed’ Gangs Matrix list and data protection breach

It is entirely right that the Metropolitan Police has been hit by the toughest sanction short of a criminal prosecution by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) as innocent people were included on a ‘poorly managed’ list of suspects and gang members.

It is entirely right that the Metropolitan Police has been hit by the toughest sanction short of a criminal prosecution by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) as innocent people were included on a ‘poorly managed’ list of suspects and gang members.

The database – called the Gangs Matrix – was shared with other agencies but did not make it clear which people posed a serious risk of crime and which people listed were completely innocent.

Police and officials in each of London’s 32 boroughs collect and manage local databases which then feed into the London-wide Matrix system.

It includes personal details, criminal records, intelligence on links to gun or knife violence and a rating of how dangerous each individual is thought to be.

This database is said to have played a key role in helping police solve a wide range of serious crimes in London. Figures from the Mayor of London say almost half of suspects charged in relation to 100 killings in the capital were on the system.

However, it was also found to contain the details of ‘a considerable number’ of innocent people who may have been victims of gangs themselves, or even informants, with a ‘a risk score of zero’.

This was because the system was ‘unclear and inconsistently applied across the boroughs’, with some continuing to monitor people even when intelligence had shown that they were no longer active gang members.

The ICO also said serious breaches of data protection laws had ‘the potential to cause damage and distress to the disproportionate number of young, black men on the Matrix.’

The dangers of innocent people being included on this list, being wrongly linked with criminal gangs or as potential informers, and that information then falling into the wrong hands, are unthinkable.

Our civil liberties team at Hudgell Solicitors have been contacted by people affected, who quite understandably been left fearing for the safety of both themselves and their families, and worried about the possible impact on their lives going forward.

Letters sent from Met Police units to those affected

The ICO says the matrix, which was created after the 2011 riots, has been poorly managed since its inception and has constantly failed to properly differentiate between dangerous offenders and their victims.

The details have been shared with other agencies such as social services, housing authorities and education as part of an ‘Al Capone’ attempt to disrupt gang members by targeting them for lesser matters.

One of the people to contact us, a 28-year-old man from London, received a letter from the Met Police’s Newham Gangs and Firearms Unit which simply asked him to get in contact with the force as soon as possible.

It is hard to imagine opening a more frightening letter, one which many people may have recently received.

Having contacted the force he and his family were informed of his name being circulated on the list and they have now been offered panic alarms in their homes.

It is a truly shocking situation, a clear breach of data protection, and therefore it is quite right that the ICO has ordered the force to overhaul how it manages and shares the data.

This cannot be allowed to happen again.

What Our Clients Say

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Highly recommended"

Excellent service and communication from start to finish. The whole process of handling my personal injury claim was dealt with quickly and courteously.

MikeNovember 26, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Becci was amazing"

Becci was amazing, she was so friendly and helpful and couldn’t have done a better job at helping me with my claim. Very happy.

Katherine JanineNovember 08, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Quick honest service"

Quick honest service, smooth process with excellent staff

MR COOPEROctober 30, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"HUDGELL SOLICITORS are great lawyers…"

HUDGELL SOLICITORS are great lawyers whit amazing customers service. I got pretty good deal only because of them I'm quite happy I chose Hudgell solicitor.

DominikOctober 30, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Good all round service"

Good all round service

John AndrewOctober 19, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Efficient"

Quick, efficient service provided by Jayne Woodock. Would definitely contact Hudgell Solicitors again in the future if the need arises

KerryOctober 10, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Thank you"

I have never had to go down the route of claiming for anything like this so when I was advised to do so I did some research and Hugell Solicitors caught my eye. And I’m so glad I picked them, everything was explained well and helped with any questions I…

ZoeOctober 04, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"No problems from start to finish for my…"

No problems from start to finish for my claim.Kept updated regularly and a good outcome even though the defendants were being evasive. Thanks.

r3monkeyOctober 03, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Excellent"

Very professional,efficient service,informative and friendly service. I would highly recommend Hudgell solicitors.

HelenOctober 01, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Good experience"

Good experience

Margaret ElizabethAugust 31, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Excellent"

Friendly, helpful and professional.

M J JAugust 09, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"I would recommend this firm of…solicitor to anyone"

I would recommend this firm of solicitor to anyone I have had a 5 star treatment from Jayne woodcock I cant praise her enough she kept me informed every step of my claim and I cannot thank her enough excellent Jimmy Mcdermott

Jimmy McJuly 28, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Very helpful and thorough"

Very helpful and thorough. The team kept me updated throughout. Thank you

EsmeJuly 25, 2019