Live events sector
IQ reported that London’s Metropolitan police is to abolish form 696, the controversial risk-assessment document critics claim discriminates against grime and other predominantly black music, in a move welcomed by mayor Sadiq Khan. Following a review process, which included consultations with local authorities, venues, the Musicians’ Union, London Promoter Forum and the Institute of Licensing, the Met announced it is to abolish the form – which it acknowledged was perceived to “disproportionately affect” certain genres of music – in favour of a “new voluntary partnership approach” with venues and promoters in the city.
A survey had revealed that almost half the British general public think that the controversial risk-assessment document Form 696 is discriminatory against those forced to complete it. The results of the survey are part of Ticketmaster’s State of Play: Grime report and shows that 48% of those polled – a “nationally representative” sample of the British population – think the form is discriminatory because it only applies to certain events. Culture minister Matt Hancock and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, are among those to have called for a review of form 696, which is used by London’s Metropolitan police to determine the potential level of risk involved in events where a DJ or MC is using a backing track. The study was produced by Ticketmaster’s LiveAnalytics division in partnership with Disrupt and the University of Westminster’s black music research unit.
Form 696 asked for the names, stage names, addresses and phone numbers of all promoters and artists at events where pre-recorded backing tracks are used. An earlier version of the document also asked about the specific genre of music being performed and likely ethnic make-up of the audience. Those questions were dropped in 2009 after allegations they were racial profiling and discriminatory. Similar documents to 696 are used by sixteen other British police forces, some of which (according to a BBC report earlier this year) still ask one or both of the more controversial questions dropped in London.
Then Culture Minister and now Secretary of State Matt Hancock wrote to Khan about the continued use of the form earlier this year, stating: “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 the city’s night-time economy by pushing organisers and promoters of urban music events outside London”. Khan responded with the review, and said that policing to ensure public safety at live events “shouldn’t compromise the capital’s vibrant grassroots music industry or unfairly target one community or music genre”.
Alan Miller, Chair of the Night Time Industries Association, welcomed the review, telling The Guardian: “This form has been a big problem for venue and promoters and it’s stifling certain types of nightlife. Obviously we want events to be policed and to be safe, but it is being used by police to target nights by black artists because they see those nights as being more aggressive and harder to control and more associated with gang crime”.