EQUAL has joined forces with 11 voluntary, community and equality organisations in an open letter to Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, and Deputy Mayor Baroness Beverley Hughes who oversees the city’s Police, Crime, Criminal Justice and Fire.
The letter, published 29th July 2022, sets out a strong collective opposition to the decision taken by Greater Manchester Police (GMP), alongside Manchester City Council and an Independent Advisory Group to prevent around 50 young people from attending Manchester’s Caribbean Carnival on 13th and 14th August 2022.
Signed by EQUAL, JUSTICE, the Alliance for Youth Justice, Big Brother Watch, Defend Digital Me, Fair Trials, Growing Futures, Hackney Account, The Howard League for Penal Reform, Liberty, Runnymede Trust, and the Zahid Mubarek Trust, it responds to findings by Northern Police Monitoring Project and others, who have reported that select young people have been sent notice by Greater Manchester Police’s Xcalibre Task Force (known as their ‘gun and gang unit’), outlining their grounds for refusal to the Carnival as:
- “[being] a member of a street gang”
- “affiliated to a street gang”
- “perceived by others to be associated to a street gang”
- “involved in criminal activity”
- “arrested at [the Carnival] 2019/2020/2021”
- or “involved or linked to Serious Youth Violence”.
EQUAL believes this is a discriminatory decision, grounded in racial bias which perceives these young people to be affiliated with gang activity, or alleged ‘gang’ membership without transparent and accountable standards, or verifiable intelligence. This is a pattern repeated in London with the now widely recognised Gangs Matrix database operated by the Metropolitan Police, and is symptomatic of a wider over-criminalistion of young Black, Asian and Minority ethnic people – especially young Black boys. We are dismayed at the cumulative impact this will have on already pressurised communities.
EQUAL is a national independent advisory group working to address race disparity in England. Find out more here.