Saturday, January 03, 2009

More on Form 696

The row is continuing about the Metropolitan police discouraging grime nights and other black musics, and its use of the now notorious Form 696. The Music Producers Guild has added its weight to the campaign against the form, with MPG chair Mike Howlett saying he feels 'this is a gross infringement of civil liberties and a form of racial discrimination. We also feel that this will deter the staging of live musical events, stifle free expression and possibly penalise certain genres of music and ethnic audiences'. The Voice newspaper has also highlighted the campaign, with an interview with Pete Todd, promoter of grime night, Dirty Canvas.

I've just come across an old story from the South London Press which throws some light on police tactics. In April 2007, the police invited South London club owners to a meeting at the Ministry of Sound to discuss gun crime in clubs. At the meeting Sergeant Mick Meaney of the Met's specialist S019 firearms unit told club owners: 'If you're playing a violin string quartet you're not going to get a steaming gang turn up. These people go to certain places and they are attracted by the music. If the music being played is attracting a certain type of crowd, don't play the music'. (South London Press, 20 April 2007).

That's the problem in a nutshell. As I've said before, gun crime in clubs is a real threat. As I've also said before, the police already have powers to deal with it - and for firearms police to dictate what kind of music Londoners can party to is a highly dubious state of affairs.

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