Opinion – Why The ‘696 Form’ Wasn’t Working & Scrapping It Was A Good Idea

Last week, London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan and the Night Czar Amy Lame had announced that the controversial Met Police Form 696 had been scrapped:-

Form 696 was a risk-assessment Form that a Venue and a Promoter of an Event would have had to fill out, but only if the event featured ‘a MC or DJ singing/performing over a backing track’ which is limited to a certain amount of urban music genres such as Grime, Hip-Hop, R’n’B, Dancehall, etc (not Rock ‘n’ Roll, for instance!)

This has caused many to feel that the Form was ‘racist’ and biased against certain type of music and the people who listen to it – and, given the huge emergence of Grime over the past few years and more Venues wanting to have Grime acts – has made this issue more and more promient. The Form only had to be done in London Venues, not applied to Festivals/Other Event spaces, where also that type of Music would be played/performed. In addition, once the Form was submitted, it could give Police the power to stop the Event entirely, before it has begun.

The argument around having the Form in place to begin with was that this type of urban music causes/encourages violence – yet official statistics show that the number of the Events that that had happened were very few and far between (even more so the last couple of years) and even then not all could be attributed to those Events directly (sometimes after-parties, gatherings, etc). My point around this also – as is always the case – is that the violence won’t be stopped, it will just be moved and encouraged to other places less policed.

The main problem that the Form had generated was a stigma and lot of tension between Artists/Promoters and Venues/Police that urban music can’t be played/performed – considering the Form doesn’t apply to any other Form of music in any other city, and only where it’s been played all night. A lot of urban artists (and even Venues) have spoken up in 2017 this year around this and the friction it has caused has been more and more highlighted.

The announcement to scrap this is quite a significant move (and a positive direction) for London’s Nightlife, and even more so for wider culture – it will allow open communication and dialogue between venues, police and event promoters for every event – as well as (imporantly) allowing more events to happen, meaning more grassroots urban music acts can perform and be seen more often – time will tell on this, but less regulation and more discussion is always a positive.

Further Viewing around all this below – worth a watch! (These were before the Mayor’s Decision was announced last week)

https://www.channel4.com/news/matt-hancock-defends-grime-music-scene

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04y5y3b

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