The Live Music Forum

Hamish Birchall Bulletin

Tuesday 8th September 2009 - Sharkey slams Met changes to Form 696

Under pressure from campaigners and the music industry, the Met Police yesterday announced changes to their controversial gig risk assessment Form 696.

One of the main criticisms has been that the Form was implicitly racist in asking questions about the target audience and genres of music.

See national media coverage:

But the Met's changes seem to be largely cosmetic, and were immediately criticised by Feargal Sharkey, boss of UK Music. Interviewed outside Scotland Yard by 'Listen Up!', the pub industry campaign for new Licensing Act exemptions for small gigs, he said:

'... the form quite clearly encompasses live music and still quite clearly targets musicians and performers... I still question, against a background where there were 174,000 violent crimes against the person last year, how many of those were perpetrated by any singer, bass player, guitar player, saxophone player, or violinist? ... we have a government, a Parliamentary select committee calling for this form to be scrapped, government ministers acknowledging at the weekend that this form is wrong [a reference to comments by David Lammy MP], and indeed the chairman of the Local Government Association culture committee [Chris White]. Yet again the Metropolitan Police have completely misread the position on this...'

The petition to scrap Form 696 currently has over 17,800 signatures and is 8th in the list of over 4,500 petitions on the Number 10 website:

The petition calling on the prime minister to implement exemptions for small gigs recommended by the Parliamentary Culture Committee has over 9,100 signatures and is 15th in the same petition list:

If the small gigs exemptions were implemented, Form 696 could not be imposed on performances of live music where the exemptions applied. However, it could still be enforced where the playing of recorded music and dancing took place (both are potentially licensable activities under the Licensing Act 2003).


Hamish Birchall