Greater Manchester Police officers in Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester, May 2008. Photo: zxzoomy via flickr/Public Domain Greater Manchester Police officers in Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester, May 2008. Photo: zxzoomy via flickr/Public Domain

The new ‘Origins’ programme being implemented by the Met takes their policy of racial profiling and abuse one step further, reports Shabbir Lakha

This week it was revealed that the Metropolitan Police have been using a software that allows them to racially profile people. The ‘Origins’ programme helps identify a person’s ethnicity and/or religion based on their name and links ethnic groups to crimes they may “specialise” in.

The revelation comes after the Met Police have defended the handcuffing and arrest of a 12 year old black child, Kai Agyepong, in a late night raid of his family’s home after he was seen playing with a toy gun. Diane Abbott rightly questioned how the Met Police could possibly justify their actions.

The use of the Origins programme confirms what the data has already shown: the Metropolitan police has an institutional approach of racial profiling and discriminatory tactics. Their use of Section 60 stop and searches without probable cause were double in May 2020 compared to May 2019, and black people are more than 11 times likely to be stopped under these powers than white people in London.

Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, recently revealed that the force had stopped and searched more than 20,000 young black men during the lockdown – equivalent to over 25% of all black 15-24 year olds in London.

As I wrote in an article three weeks ago after the viral stop and searches of Bianca Williams and Ryan Colaço, the evidence of institutional racism in the Met police is overwhelming. The disproportionate  treatment of black and brown people shows a clear institution-wide approach, and the use of the Gangs Matrix and now the Origins programme show just how these racist tactics are implemented.

Pots and kettles

The Origins programme is produced by the firm run by Trevor Phillips, the former Equality and Human Rights Commission chair who was suspended from the Labour Party earlier this year for Islamophobic comments. This is the same Trevor Phillips who claimed the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn had an antisemitism problem and compared it to the BNP.

As the allegations of antisemitism continue to be used to try and bury Jeremy Corbyn’s legacy and attack the left, it’s worth bearing in mind the kind of characters that are slinging the mud. The EHRC, which Phillips was chair of, is due to release a report into antisemitism in Labour, and Phillips was among the most vocal after the Panorama programme whose ‘whistleblowers’ just received a six figure settlement from Keir Starmer.

Shabbir Lakha

Shabbir Lakha is a Stop the War officer, a People's Assembly activist and a member of Counterfire.

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