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The controversial risk-assessment form, believed by nearly half the UK to discriminate against promoters of urban music events, is to be abolished after 12 years
By Jon Chapple on 10 Nov 2017
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 today 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.
Form 696, introduced in 2005 in response to a number of shootings at club nights across London, requires potential licensees to list performers’ and promoters’ names, addresses and phone numbers, the style of music to be performed and the event’s target audience. It is the requests for information on genre and audience that are particularly controversial, with critics accusing the police of racial profiling by singling out primarily black musical styles such as grime, garage and bashment.
Ticketmaster’s latest State of Play report, which focuses on grime, revealed more than half the British general public believes the form to be discriminatory.
“It is clear that in recent years the landscape of the night time economy in London has changed, and thankfully we have seen a reduction in serious incidents at promoted music events, particularly those involving firearms,” says Met superintendent Roy Smith. “We have also been working in close partnership with the music industry and others to raise standards of safety in venues and at events.
“We have taken the decision to remove form 696 and instead develop a new voluntary partnership approach for venues and promoters across London. This will provide an excellent opportunity to share information at a local level and work to identify any enhanced risk to ensure the safety of the public.”
“This decision will … ensure the capital is a welcoming place for artists and DJs of all music genres”
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan – a notable critic of form 696 – adds: “Developing a night-time economy that works for everyone is a key priority of mine, but it’s also vital that live music events in London take place safely. I called for a review of form 696 earlier this year because of concerns raised by promoters and artists in the capital that this process was unfairly affecting specific communities and music genres. […]
“This decision will help London’s night-time economy thrive, ensure the capital is a welcoming place for artists and DJs of all music genres and that Londoners are able to enjoy live music safely.”
He also praised the work of night czar Amy Lamé in securing the form’s repeal, saying that, “by bringing together the Met and representatives from across the city’s legendary grassroots music industry, we have shown why having a night czar is so important for London”.
“It’s great that mayor of London Sadiq Khan and London’s night czar, Amy Lamé, have listened to the concerns of the music industry”
Industry umbrella group UK Music also welcomed the decision to scrap form 696, with chief executive Michael Dugher commenting: “This is fantastic news. UK Music has campaigned to get rid of this unpopular restriction on our diverse and vibrant music scene.”
“It’s great that mayor of London Sadiq Khan and London’s night czar, Amy Lamé, have listened to the concerns of the music industry.”
“We thank him for showing leadership on this important issue and ensuring that the London remains a world beater when it comes to our cultural music mix.”
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