Police defend Form 696 after Government committee slams it

Clubs and vice unit chief speaks out about controversial form

A controversial form used by police for risk assessment for gigs in some London boroughs has been defended by police following the news that the Culture, Media and Sport Committee has recommended it be scrapped.

Form 696 requires gig promoters to submit details of shows they are putting on. Early versions of it asked for details on the ethnicity of fans set to attend plus “style of music” to be played, leading some musicians to brand it “racist”.

Feargal Sharkey, head of music industry umbrella group UK Music, has spoken out and campaigned against the form’s use, while Jon McClure of Reverend And The Makers set up a petition at the Downing Street website, Petitions.number10.gov.uk, calling for its use to be ceased.

In a report published on May 14 the Culture, Media and Sport Committee called for it to be scrapped, calling it “unreasonable”. However, Chief Insp Adrian Studd, who heads up the Metropolitan Police‘s clubs and vice unit, has since defended the form’s use.

“We want to be absolutely sure that we are being absolutely fair,” he told BBC News. “Yes, you could say that statistically, [with] certain genres of music there’s more likely to be trouble.

“We started to identify that some of the crime and disorder associated with licensed premises was attracted by certain events or promotions. A premises that was generally very well run, out of the blue could have some serious disorder. It could be because of the particular artist that they had.

“What we want to do is capture all events where there may be problems. Statistics don’t always tell the whole story.”

Many musicians have hailed the Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s recommendation as a victory for live music. See the next issue of NME, out May 20, for more reaction.