JUSTICE has joined with 11 organisations, calling on the Greater Manchester Police, Manchester City Council, and the Independent Advisory Group to retract their racist and discriminatory policy which, bans numerous individuals, including children and young adults, from attending the Caribbean Carnival of Manchester on 13 to 14 August 2022.
The letter, which was exposed thanks to the vital work of organisations such as the Northern Police Monitoring Project, sets out a policy, with grounds for refusal of entry which include 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”.
These requirements will have a profoundly discriminatory impact, particularly so where the organisers can refuse entry where an individual is “perceived” to be involved with a gang. Vague and undefined standards, like perception, are an open-door to racist policing and security provision at the Carnival. For instance, the Home Office’s own figures show Black people are seven times more likely than White people to be stopped and searched on the basis of “reasonable suspicion”.
Our letter also highlights the fact that the policy breaches the Greater Manchester Police’s and Manchester City Council’s equality and human rights-based legal obligations, the Police Code of Ethics, and undermines the aims and objectives of the Greater Manchester Police’s Race Equality Panel, which state that “Greater Manchester’s cultural heritage and history of community inclusion and social justice” must be “championed”.
We are also asking for clarification as to the legal basis for the policy, whether any consultation was undertaken in respect of it, and the number of individuals who have received the letter.
JUSTICE’s Criminal Justice Lawyer, Tyrone Steele, said:
“This policy demonstrates that Black, Brown and Racialised children and young adults continue to suffer from criminalisation at the hands of the police. As well as being racist and discriminatory, the policy is plainly unlawful. Greater Manchester Police and Manchester City Council must do the right thing, revoke the letter and policy, and explain how this happened in the first place.”
The letter from JUSTICE, the Alliance for Youth Justice, Big Brother Watch, Defend Digital Me, EQUAL, Fair Trials, Growing Futures, Hackney Account, The Howard League for Penal Reform, Liberty, Runnymede Trust, and the Zahid Mubarek Trust to Chief Constable Stephen Watson, Council Leader Bev Craig, Chair of the Independent Advisory Group, copying Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester; Deputy Mayor Baroness Beverley Hughes, can be read here.
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