Form 696: Concern over 'racist' police form to be raised

By Chi Chi Izundu and Jessica Furst
Victoria Derbyshire entertainment reporter

  • Published
Grime artist P MoneyImage source, P Money
Image caption,
P Money says grime events are being targeted by police

The government is to respond to fears a police risk assessment form has been used in a "racist" way to target grime artists, the BBC understands.

Promoters and licensees in many areas are asked to complete a "Form 696" before hosting some music events featuring "DJs and MCs".

Culture Minister Matt Hancock is set to raise concerns with Mayor Sadiq Khan about the use of the form in London.

The Met Police denies the voluntary form targets certain genres of music.

The Victoria Derbyshire programme has found some forces, such as Leicestershire Police, still ask for the ethnic make-up of the audience attending and the music genre being played at an event, on the form.

Those two questions were removed from the original Met Police form in 2009, following complaints it was racist and it was profiling certain groups.

A Freedom of Information request also found a version of the form has now been adopted by 16 other forces in England.

Gig cancellations

The Met's Promotion Event Risk Assessment Form 696 - or simply Form 696 - asks for the names, stage names, addresses and phone numbers of all promoters and artists at an event.

Organisers of "live music events" do not have to fill it out, as it is intended to cover garage, R&B and grime performances, where a pre-recorded backing track is used.

Image caption,
Leicestershire Police asks for the ethnic make-up of the audience on its form

Police say the form aims to ensure event owners provide a safe working and leisure environment for all those attending events and promotions - including musicians, performers, staff and customers.

They say the process helps to reduce crime and disorder, provides up-to-date information about past and future promotions and encourages venues, police, local authorities and promoters to share information better.

However, grime artists have told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme that information passed on via the form has prompted the cancellation of their gigs at the last minute.

'A race thing'

Rapper Giggs had his tour cancelled in 2010 following police advice.

Last year, he called for police to work more closely with grime acts to stop shows being cancelled.

Artist P Money said he had been removed from gig line-ups on account of information passed on via the form.

He described the form as a "race thing".

"It's been happening for so many years that now we kind of know, it's just our scene. They [police] target grime a lot, they just blame a lot of things on grime."

He said: "We know they're just trying to shut down grime, because if it was anything else they wouldn't have this issue.

Image caption,
Rapper Giggs had his tour cancelled following police advice

"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 fight still might have broken out though, but they don't look at it like that. They just think, 'Oh it's different for them.'

"Why is it different? There's fights everywhere, there's situations everywhere at all types of shows, all types of things, whether its punk, rock, hip hop, pop, whatever."

Alan Miller, chairman of the Night Time Industries Association, said the form was "flawed", adding: "You do not get more crime with young black men than you do with young white men or anyone else."

'Mitigate risks'

Leicestershire Police said its form was under review and its contents may change, but gave no date for when this may happen.

Bedfordshire Police also ask for the music genre on its form, saying that "failure to complete the risk assessment correctly may jeopardise future events by the promoter and the venue".

In a statement, the Met said information on its form allowed officers to carry out research so "additional measures can be put in place to mitigate any risks".

"The form does not target any particular group nor does it ask for the genre of music, event type, age range or demographic of the customers who attend."

In 2009, the force reviewed the use of Form 696 following public criticism.

Night-time economy

One recommendation was that an annual review should take place.

However, the Victoria Derbyshire programme has also discovered no review of the form had taken place since.

The Met said the department that oversaw the original review no longer existed and it now "runs regular forums where promoters are able to exchange views with us and air any grievances".

The Mayor of London's office said: "Our priority is to keep Londoners safe and support a vibrant night-time economy, and this means ensuring that all performances have the most appropriate security and safety plans in place.

"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."

Watch the Victoria Derbyshire programme on weekdays between 09:00 and 11:00 on BBC Two and the BBC News channel.