BBC News reports today that the British government are set to examine claims that grime artists receive unfair restrictions from police in a live environment. Culture Minister Matt Hancock will raise these concerns, which target a specific risk assessment form used by police, with London Mayor Saddiq Khan.
Event promoters and license holders in the UK are asked to fill out a ‘Form 696′ before an some events featuring DJs and MCs. The intrusive form requests the names, stage names, addresses, and phone numbers of all promoters and artists at an event.
Victoria Derbyshire’s radio programme even found that some police forces are asking about the ethnic make-up of both the audience that will be in the event’s attendance, and of the music genre involved with the event. These regulations are still in place despite these questions being removed from the standard form after a review in 2009. However a further investigation using a Freedom of Information request has revealed that 16 other police forces use similar wording and similar versions of the form.
Police have defended themselves, stating that the form has helped to reduce crime and disorderly behaviour at these events, but the effect that their actions have had on the genre over the years has been telling. in 2010, Giggs had to cancel an entire tour following police advice, and even as recently as 2016 has claimed that he still faces “so much nonsense” when it comes to organising live shows. Boy Better Know member JME has been incredibly vocal about his dealings with the police in the past, and even took part in a 2014 documentary on the subject, which you can watch below.
Grime MC P Money also spoke to the BBC on the matter recently, finitely claiming ‘Form 696′ to be “a race thing”. P Money suggested that police deliberately targeted the grime genre above others, due to stereotyping, claiming “we know they’re just trying to shut down grime, because if it was anything else they wouldn’t have this issue,” he said. “If, for example, Ed Sheeran had a show and a fight broke out, he’s not going to do a 696 on his next arena tour.”
A statement from the Mayor of London’s office on the matter read”We have supported a number of events that bring together the Met, music venues, and promoters to try to improve the understanding of when and how Risk Assessment Form 696 should be used.”