Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'Lives Could Be at Risk' after Names from Secret Met Gangs Matrix Are Leaked Online; EXCLUSIVE

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'Lives Could Be at Risk' after Names from Secret Met Gangs Matrix Are Leaked Online; EXCLUSIVE

Article excerpt

Byline: Rachael Burford

YOUNG Londoners have been put in "serious danger" after details from a secret Scotland Yard gangs database were leaked online, the Standard has been told.

Pages from the Met's Gangs Matrix, which includes the names and suspected gang affiliations of more than 3,000 people, were photographed and circulated on social media.

The force launched an investigation into the leak but failed to identify how the information became public.

It refused to confirm how many identities were revealed, saying only that officers have "risk-assessed every individual on the list and taken appropriate action where necessary". The Information Commissioner also launched an inquiry.

Sheldon Thomas, a former gang member and founder of training organisation Gangsline, said that "hundreds of lives" could have potentially been put at risk, saying: "It is dangerous for a young person if their name is attached to a gang. Rival gangs could see it and say 'I didn't know so and so was running with them, let's sort them out.' " He added: "Young people could also be stigmatised when trying to find employment or in education. Someone should have lost their job."

The matrix, set up after the 2011 London riots, has information on about 3,800 people, including a "harm score" of green, amber or red to denote how deeply they are thought to be engaged in gang-related activities.

Figures from 2016 showed that most of those on the database were aged between 12 and 24.

The data breach, by an "unknown professional" working in Newham, was revealed in a report into police failings related to the gangland murder of Corey Junior Davis, 14, who was shot in Forest Gate last September.

He was first listed on Newham's gangs matrix in December 2016 as a "green nominal" because authorities believed he was "easily influenced" and "associating with troublemakers". …

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