The UK's Minister Of State For Digital And Culture, Matt Hancock, will meet with London mayor Sadiq Khan to discuss a potentially "racist and divisive" risk assessment form used by British police to unfairly target grime events.
The Metropolitan police's Promotion Event Risk Assessment Form 696 is specifically aimed at parties featuring DJs and MCs. (Live music events aren't required to fill out the form.) Used by 16 forces nationwide, it asks venue managers to detail the names, stage names, addresses and phone numbers of the artists and promoters involved. Certain regional forces, like Leicestershire and Bedfordshire police, also require promoters to include the ethnic make-up of the audience and/or the type of music played. (These two questions were removed from the London version in 2009 after people complained of racial profiling.)
As the BBC reports, police say the process helps to mitigate crime, though various grime artists have criticised it, saying that events they've been involved with have repeatedly been shut down without explanation. Speaking to the BBC's Chi Chi Izundu on today's Victoria Derbyshire programme, Lewisham rapper P Money called the form "a race thing," adding that "they [police] target grime a lot, they just blame a lot of things on grime."
The Met, who say that they "run regular forums where promoters are able to exchange views with us and air any grievances," deny that it discriminates against specific genres or races. "The form does not target any particular group," reads a statement.
Watch P Money, Jammz and NTIA chairman Alan Miller discuss the issue on today's Victoria Derbyshire show. (Segment starts at 13:50.)
Read Matt Hancock's letter to Sadiq Khan (via Musicweek):
I would like to raise some concerns I have about the use of Form 696 and the potential impact this is having on London's grassroots music scene.
Through meetings my team have held with a range of music industry representatives, it is clear that the way in which the form is being used can single out certain genres of music and may be deterring the staging of some events.
I am concerned that the form is not only potentially stifling young artists and reducing the diversity of London's world renowned musical offering, but is also having a negative impact on London's night time economy by pushing organisers and promoters of urban music events to take them outside London. This form is just used in London and not other UK cities.
I appreciate that Form 696 is a risk assessment designed to allow the management of licensed premises, promoters of music events, event security and the police to work in partnership to identify and minimise any risk of serious crime happening at a proposed event. But I'm sure you will agree that anything which has the potential to impact negatively on free expression and London's economy while denying young people the opportunity to attend and perform at certain events, needs careful consideration.
Genres of urban music like Grime have the same significance for today's young people as punk did in the 1970s, empowering them, creating a new generation of musical heroes and growing to become a worldwide phenomenon. I strongly believe that we should be encouraging and embracing all musical genres, building on London's rich musical history as the city that gave us the Kinks, David Bowie, The Sex Pistols and Amy Winehouse.
I would like to understand whether you think Form 696 is serving a justified purpose and working well, or whether there is a case for changing the current system.
It was really helpful for the Secretary of State and me to meet up with your team last month to discuss the areas that crossover our responsibilities. We would both welcome an opportunity to set up a similar meeting soon, where we could discuss this and other issues. If you are in agreement, the Secretary of State's office will contact yours to arrange our next catch up.
I am copying this letter to the Night Czar, London's Deputy Mayor for Culture, UK Music, British Underground, and the Musicians Union.