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Mayor Orders Review Of Form 696 For Music Events In The Capital

The Mayor, Sadiq Khan, and his Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, Justine Simons, have requested a review of the Metropolitan Police Form 696 Risk Assessment following concerns that the form unfairly targets grime, garage and R ‘n’ B acts.

A version of the Form 696 Risk Assessment is used by several other police forces around England, including in Leicestershire, West Yorkshire and Hertfordshire.

Form 696 is designed by the Met to allow the management of licensed premises, event security and police to work together to minimise the risk of serious violent crime happening at promoted music events. The use of the form is voluntary, though in a very small number of cases completion of the form is a condition of premises’ licences.

The Night Czar and Chair of the London Music Board, Amy Lamé convened a special meeting this week to consider how the Board can work with the Met to ensure the safety of events, without compromising the capital’s diverse grassroots music scene.

The London Music Board is a body comprising of influential individuals from across the capital’s vibrant music scene, including industry bodies, DJs, artists, promoters, venues, local authorities and union officials.

Current guidance from the Met recommends that venues and promoters consider completing Form 696 when promoting events that predominantly feature DJs or MCs performing to a recorded backing track.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, wants London’s night life to be the most diverse in the world and, alongside his Night Czar, has pledged to champion the capital’s unique night-time economy and culture. Sadiq has tasked Amy with bringing together people and businesses from across London’s night-time industries to transform London into a truly 24-hour city. Amy will ensure the continued collaboration between the Met and the capital’s music industry through the London Music Board.

A wide range of artists, promoters and venues – with an interest in Form 696 - attended the meeting, including Crispin Parry (British Underground), DJ/Producer Funk Butcher (aka Kwame Safo), Dominic Madden (Electric Brixton), Jane Beese (Roundhouse), Auro Foxcroft (Village Underground), DJ Ritu and DJ Danny Rampling.

The meeting also included representatives from local authorities, UK Music, Musicians’ Union, Night Time Industries Association, Arts Council England, DCMS and the Metropolitan Police.

The review, which is now underway, will examine the impact of the current Form 696 process on promoted events in the night-time economy and will consider any negative impact (real or perceived) on specific venues and community groups, recommending steps to mitigate this impact in the future. It will also consider any benefits that Form 696 brings to the safe enjoyment of London’s vibrant and diverse music scene.

Throughout the Autumn, the Met will continue to consult a range of stakeholders including promoters, venues and the London Licensing Managers’ Forum. An equality impact assessment, as part of the consultation process, is also underway, to understand whether there is any disproportionate impact on certain communities from the use of Form 696.

The review will be completed and measures implemented by the Metropolitan Police in early 2018.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The safety of Londoners is my number-one priority. It’s vital that live music events can take place safely and that the Met can help venues to lessen the risk of violent behaviour. This risk assessment shouldn’t compromise the capital’s vibrant grassroots music industry or unfairly target one community or music genre, which is why the Met is reviewing their Form 696 process, working together with London’s promoters, venues and artists to develop a system that makes sure London’s legendary music scene thrives whilst keeping Londoners safe.”

Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, Justine Simons OBE, said: “London is the world’s music capital, producing artists from Adele to Ed Sheeran, Stormzy to Skepta. Live performances make a huge contribution to the life and soul of the capital, but we must make sure that all gigs are able to take place safely, and that one genre or community is not specifically targeted, so I’m delighted that the Met is reviewing the risk assessment process for safety at promoted music events.”

Night Czar and Chair of the London Music Board, Amy Lamé, said: “As Chair of the Mayor’s London Music Board it was great to bring DJs, artists, promoters and unions together with the representatives from the Metropolitan Police, local authorities and industry bodies to start a conversation about how we can work collaboratively during the review of Form 696. I look forward to continuing to work with colleagues from across the night time economy and culture to ensure that we can create a safe, 24-hour city that truly works for everyone.”

Supt. Roy Smith, Metropolitan Police, said: “The use of the Form 696 enables us to provide advice and guidance on the risk posed by an event and suggest measures which can be taken to manage those risks. It is important to note that so far in 2017 no events have been cancelled at the request of the police following the submission of a Form 696. We welcome the opportunity to work with the music industry and colleagues at the Mayor’s office to review the Form 696 process and ensure that it remains fit for purpose and to listen to any concerns which are raised. This special session of the London Music Board has provided an important opportunity for us to reality check the process and act on feedback.”

DJ and Producer Funk Butcher (aka. Kwame Safo), said: "I think it's encouraging that the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and the Night Czar Amy Lamé are following through in their commitment to protect our city's nightlife. 696 has always felt punitive for certain parts of the capital’s music community. This discussion will be a step in the right direction to redressing the grievances held by the music professionals whilst protecting the safety of the ravers we service"

Promoter and DJ, DJ Ritu, said: “It’s great that the Mayor and Night Czar are listening to the music industry and bringing us together with the Metropolitan Police to talk about the different ways that Form 696 affects us. We have a shared goal of ensuring people can enjoy great entertainment and events in a safe way. I hope that this is the start of greater collaboration between venues, promoters, artists, local councils and the police and we’ll be able to work together more closely in the future.”

Michael Dugher, CEO of UK Music, said: “It's great news that Mayor Sadiq Khan has listened to Londoners and responded to campaigners. This long overdue review offers a welcome opportunity to end the damage caused to our music scene by Form 696, while making sure live music events in London are safe for all to enjoy.

"One of our first campaigns after UK Music was formed in 2008 was to call for Form 696 to be scrapped. The Form wrongly makes performing music a crime and disorder issue. Performers rightly feel it discriminates unfairly against certain types of music like grime and it flies in the face of efforts to make our vibrant music scene even more diverse."

Dominic Madden, Co-owner of Electric Brixton, said: “I am delighted to join colleagues in discussing this review of the 696 form and collaboratively establish how best music venue operators and other partners within the music business can work with the Metropolitan Police and Local Authorities to ensure we run the best and safest events.”

Dave Webster, National Organiser, Live Performance for Musicians’ Union, said: “We are pleased that the GLA and the Met have listened to us and taken on board our concerns about Form 696. The meeting today [21 September] was encouraging. We look forward to further talks with the Met Police on this matter.”

Figures released earlier this year by the London Music Board show that that the number of grassroots music venues in the capital has remained stable for the first time since 2007, with 94 venues currently operating in London.

In total, grassroots music venues contribute £91.8m and support 2,260 full time jobs. For every £10 spent on tickets to grassroots music venues in London, £17 is spent nearby on food, drink and transport. £44m a year is invested by London’s grassroots music venues in talent development, highlighting their importance in discovering emerging artists.