Feeds

Police vet live music, DJs for 'terror risk'

Locking down garage...and RnB, basement

The Power of One Infographic

A dozen London boroughs have implemented a "risk assessment" policy for live music that permits the police to ban any live music if they fail to receive personal details from the performers 14 days in advance. The demand explicitly singles out performances and musical styles favoured by the black community: garage and R&B, and MCs and DJs.

However all musical performances - from one man playing a guitar on up - are subject to the demands once implemented by the council. And the threat is serious: failure to comply "may jeopardise future events by the promoter or the venue".

UK Music chief Feargal Sharkey told a House of Commons select committee that the policy had already been used to pull the plug on an afternoon charity concert of school bands in a public park organised by a local councillor.

"No alcohol would be sold, tickets were limited to three maximum, and the councillor offered to supply eight registered doormen. Police objected on the grounds that the names, addresses and dates of birth of the young performer could not be provided," said Sharkey, speaking to the Department of Culture Media and Sport's hearing on venue licensing today.

"Live music is now a threat to the prevention of terrorism", he concluded.

In response, Detective Superintendent Dave Eyles from the Met's clubs and vice office told us that 10,000 such Risk Assessments would be processed this year. He said they weren't compulsory:

"We can't demand it - we recommend that you provide it as best practice. But you're bloody silly if you don't, because you're putting your venue at risk."

The Risk Assessment, or to give its official name "Form 696" can be found here (Word doc 184kb or Google HTML cache). We've highlighted a couple of excerpts below.

Black urban musical styles are singled out

Bashment Jaxx? Black urban musical styles are singled out

Licensing of live music is nominally under the democratic control of local authorities. However, few councillors dare contradict the advice of the constabulary - even when such advice exceeds the police's authority, as it does here.

John Whittingdale, the Culture select committee chairman, described it as "a consequence of the Metropolitan Poice exceeding what is required by law".

The police want information 14 days in advance to assess the risk of a terror threat

'Propensity to violence'

"Have a look at the papers and tell me where the black-on-black shootings happen? They're around the night time economy," said Eyles.

"Music promotions attract people who have a propensity to use violence. That's not speculation. We have a duty to prevent that from happening."

But even if that's true, why vet then the performers? Unless the performers attack the audience, Sid Vicious-style in the fictional Great Rock and Roll Swindle?

"We're not vetting the performers - we're looking at the audience. It's not the music it's the people who follow it, who use that event as a catalyst to commit crimes.

But, Form 696 explictly vets the performers. We read it out.

"Some venues use their inhouse DJs all the time - others fly them in from around the world. It's not just their track record in the UK we're looking at but we're looking worldwide - what has happened historically at those events".

With the police groaning under bureaucracy, was 10,000 extra forms really justified?

"We can effectively look at those venues and say by putting in some measures as a last resort, canceling the event, we can prevent crime."

But didn't Sharkey's example - a kids concert in the park - suggest that the system was being abused?

"I would doubt that's factually correct," said Eyles. "I've never known an event to be cancelled because a Risk Assessment wasn't completed. If we went to the organisers and asked them to pull it, we would be laughed out of court. I cannot believe that would happen. In itself, it's not grounds to shut an event down."

Readers can browse 696 and judge for themselves. ®

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Sit back down, Julian Assange™, you're not going anywhere just yet
Swedish court refuses to withdraw arrest warrant
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery
Burrito meets soft taco in alleged rooftop romp outrage
LightSquared backer sues FCC over spectrum shindy
Why, we might as well have been buying AIR
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.