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Industry figures claim police actions damaging urban music live scene

Industry figures claim police actions damaging urban music live scene

Criticisms say that the handling of urban music events has led to many of the genre's artists and gig-goers being discriminated against and claim the problem is specifically, and unfairly, related to the genre.

An anonymous booking agent spoke of strict security measures involving airport security style scanners before entering one urban music gig.

"Of course we complied, we can't afford to rock the boat, but it is definitely racist, it is definitely not fair," he said.

"The problem is that it reverberates through young people, they go to different types of events, they see that at indie events they are not treated like this. It just antagonises them."

It is reported that police assess such events according to ethnicity of both the audience and artists. A recent occurrence at a large, mainstream event and venue saw 18 performers and a group of young people on work experience searched for weapons.

Sarah McKinley, founder of an urban booking agency, said the police risk assessment that uses 'form 696' was discriminatory: "I've never known a club to have to do a 696 for a normal, non-black event."

There was a call for the form to be abolished in the House of Commons in 2009 but this has not yet been executed.

John Whittingdale, who chairs the culture, media and sport committee in the House of Commons, said, "We looked at it and were of the view that form 696 was discriminatory and completely unnecessary. It appears that problem still exists and it is still being used by the Met to target particular types of music."

Jo Dipple, acting chief executive of UK Music, the UK music industry body, said: "We have seen no evidence that directly links music, never mind artists and musicians, with crime and disorder."

Aa part of the risk assessment, the form currently states that it requires information from events "that predominantly feature DJs or MCs performing to a recorded backing track."

"This is unacceptable. Performers being searched goes way beyond the stated guidance of this supposedly voluntary process," said Dipple, arguing that police were hampering one of the UK's successful music exports, which has seen artists like Dizzee Rascal and Ms Dynamite achieve international success..

Source: The Guardian

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