In a few weeks time, the Caribbean Carnival of Manchester will take place over the weekend of August 13th and 14th. Happening in the city’s Alexandra Park, this year’s event is the first full one since 2019 and is a big one – the event is 50 years old this year, and will also celebrate 60 years since Jamaica’s independence from the then British Empire.
Manchester City Council are very proud to be holding this event – and we know this because they tell us on their website. But amidst the anticipation ahead of the event, especially within the city’s Afro-Caribbean community, all is not quite well.
Greater Manchester Police have sent out letters to a number of people in the vicinity telling them to basically stay away from the event. Why? Because they might be a member of a gang, apparently. Here’s a copy of the letter…
I am furious at this letter on ‘gangs’ and carnival.— Roxy Legane (@RoxyLegane) July 26, 2022
GMPs gangs unit Xcalibre have given out their letters to kids pre Carnival (word is around 50). The we believe you’re part of a ‘street gang’ so don’t go to Carnival letters. The letter also warns if anyone ‘perceived by pic.twitter.com/C8Ri86Rv3G
The letter firstly explains that for the purpose of this event, Alexandra Park is treated as a “licensed premises”. Now, there’s nothing unusual about this – if it wasn’t, the organisers wouldn’t be able to control the numbers or refuse admission. But what is unusual is what follows…
“The organisers have stated that no person who is either a member of a street gang, affiliated to a street gang, perceived by others to be associated with a street gang, and/or suspected to be involved in criminal activity will be allowed entry.”
Hang on a minute. Isn’t there something somewhat alarming about the words “perceived by others to be associated with a street gang” in this letter? Whilst Ears To The House totally agrees with organisers not wanting street gang members anywhere near this family orientated event, we were under the impression something called evidence was required before taking the drastic move to refuse admission.
So what checks have Greater Manchester Police done to make sure the list of persona non grata issued with these letters are suspected of being involved with gang violence? Do they have reasonable grounds for coming to these conclusions – or are they just taking a list provided by someone else and sending out letters to these individuals without asking any questions?
We contacted them ahead of publication to ask – but they’ve yet to reply…