It is with rage that we hear roughly 50 young people in our communities have received letters from GMP’s Xcalibre Task Force, preventing them from attending this year’s Manchester Caribbean Carnival. The basis of these letters is GMP’s ‘belief’ that the individual who received the letter is either:
- 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 or arrested at carnival between 2019-21
- Involved or linked to serious youth violence
A ‘gang’ (something GMP have no definition for) is a deeply racist construct which finds young people – disproportionately black boys – labelled due to their friendships, interests or cultures. Evidence from groups and organisations such as Amnesty International UK have continued to show that the police, including GMP, label black boys ‘gang members’ with weak or non-existent evidence, conflate ‘gangs’ and youth violence, and build racist ‘gangs’ databases, all with an end goal of securing unjust prosecutions. Letters such as these are one of the many tactics at play in assigning the ‘gang’ label.
The journey of carnival from being a community event to a corporate spectacle will continue to play a significant part in its policing becoming even more harmful. Our anger sits not only with GMP for this approach, but with the event organisers who are actively complicit, providing legitimacy for the policing of carnival. Furthermore, the letter states ‘you will not be permitted entry to the carnival as per the wishes of the organisers and the community’. We reject this, knowing many members of our community will not want these letters circulated in their name.
We ask if you or your loved one has received one of these letters, to make contact with us. We know young people and their families who have received these are in shock, and we send our love and care.
We ask members of the community attending carnival to be aware of this issue, and look out for young people – particularly black boys – hoping to attend. The police will be preventing entry of those ‘perceived’ to be in a ‘street gang’, and we know full well that perceptions, and the ‘gang’ label itself, are racist. Reach out to anyone who is refused entry, document what you are told with their consent, and share the details with us via our reporting form, social media or email: email@example.com.
We want a safe Carnival too, and that includes safety from policing. As part of a wider anti-racist movement, NPMP remains committed to building effective non-policing solutions that keep us all safe.