The Metropolitan Police Service’s (MPS) Gangs Matrix is a database held by the MPS on which they list the names and personal details, amongst other information, of suspected “gang nominals” living in the capital.
Sheryl is a brilliant trial advocate who is routinely instructed in the broad spectrum of serious criminal cases. Sheryl has appeared as leading junior counsel, sole counsel and led junior in cases of varying complexity and seriousness. She has considerable experience in cases of homicide and serious violence, firearms offences, large scale drugs importation and conspiracy cases as well as serious sexual offences. She also has experience as a led junior on large fraud trials.
"She has a great ability to think on her feet in court and adapt her advocacy style to the witness before her, making her an excellent cross-examiner."
Legal 500 - 2020.
To ignore the other forms of organised criminal activity which is rife in the capital and which involves violence begs the question why does it appear as though a particular spotlight is being placed on specific pockets of youth and young adult offending?
A review carried out by officers in the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) in 201811 identified that the representation of young, Black males on the Matrix was “disproportionate to their likelihood of criminality and / or being a victim of crime” and lay and legal critics of the Matrix, including myself, continue to call out the overrepresentation of Black (African and Caribbean heritage) and Mixed Black males on it.
In my view this disproportional representation of young Black males is unsurprising and represents a continuance of the historical trend of the racialised and over-policing of predominantly Black communities in London. This trend results in the over-criminalisation of those same communities and at the very least helps to preserve the state of the strained relations between parts of that community and the police.
The Met Police have consistently defended the value of the Matrix on the basis that it helps them to prevent crime and also protect vulnerable people from coming to harm. This overlooks the fact that for some parts of the young Black male community in London, their vulnerability to becoming a victim of crime is exacerbated exactly because they feel constantly targeted and labelled by the police so that they do not view the police as an institution designed to protect them, nor do they view police officers as people who they can approach if they are in fact victims of crime.
Another criticism of the Matrix is the lack of clarity surrounding reasons for inclusion on it. Known reasons include being seen by the police in company with alleged ‘known gang members’, or based on presumed gang affiliation based on police monitoring social media activity (including participating in YouTube music videos), or having been a victim of a crime that the police link to a gang so that the police believe that a person will ‘subsequently become drawn in to involvement in serious crime’.
Free and independent legal advice
You will never be penalised for asking for legal advice. It is your legal right and it is free of charge.
Remember: the law is complex and it never hurts to get expert advice, even if you are sure you have done nothing wrong.
Ask for Michael Herford and he, or one of his specialist team will provide you with a Legal LifeLine when you need it most.
- https://www.statewatch.org/media/documents/news/2011/oct/uk-riots-ho-report.pdf at p.19
- 1,995 people;
- 240 people;
- 133 people;
- “Dark European” – 71; “Arabian /Egyptian” – 59; “Oriental” – 0;
- See: The Lammy Review 2017 An independent review into the treatment of, and outcomes for, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic individuals in the Criminal Justice System – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/lammy-review-final-report
- StopWatch is a coalition which aims to address excess and disproportionate stop and search, and which promotes best practice and effective policing for all.
- See: MOPAC Review of the Metropolitan Police Service Gangs Matrix – December 2018