The Live Music Forum

Hamish Birchall Bulletin


Monday 8th December 2008 - Scrap 696 petition in top 40

he petition calling on the Prime Minister to scrap Form 696 is currently 33rd in the list of nearly 5000 petitions on the Number 10 website: (to view signatures)

Since being set up a week ago by musician Jon 'The Reverend' McClure it has gained over 3,381 signatures - about 570 a day.

Form 696 was originally a discretionary risk assessment implemented by the Metropolitan Police at problem venues. In the past year, however, the form and the Met's catch-all definition of events to which it applies, has been adopted by a majority of the 33 London councils as a potential licence condition under the Licensing Act 2003. Where it is enforced as a condition of a venue's licence, venues must provide the names, addresses, and dates of birth of performers two weeks in advance of gigs, or face potential criminal prosecution. The form also demands the style of music being played, citing by way of example RnB, garage and bashment. This has led to accusations of racism as these styles are known to be popular with ethnic minorities.

London Councils and the police claim that enforcement of the form remains discretionary. However this is not reflected in the Met's definition of events to which the form applies. In any case, the police already have separate powers to intervene at venues if they believe there may be a breach of the peace.

According to a BBC report last week, Feargal Sharkey of UK Music appears to be hesitating over his threat of judicial review:

"UK Music is currently looking at the process of judicial review and that would involve all 21 local boroughs that we believe are involved in this. However, it does raise the question as to quite why a music industry is potentially going to have to fund a high court case costing hundreds of thousands of pounds to deal with a bit of legislation that is quite obviously deeply flawed and why isn't the Government intervening to fix it in the first place?"


Hamish Birchall