Form 696: ‘Clumsy’ Bits Removed

The U.K.’s Metropolitan Police risk-assessment form for pubs and clubs has been revised because its critics complained it was being used to target events by black or Asian organisers.

Chief superintendent Richard Martin, who is head of the Metropolitan Police’s clubs and vice unit, said there had been “some clumsy bits” on the form.

“It’s about taking those things out and stopping the worry,” he explained, although he also said he doesn’t think the old version was discriminatory.

During a review of the 2003 Licensing Act in May, the House of Commons’ culture, media and sport select committee said the form should be scrapped.

The form asked for the names, age, addresses and phone numbers of artists and promoters, for details of the target audience and for music style. Revisions include removing the music genre question.

More than 50 music organisations opposing the form sent a complaint to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission. It asked the EHRC to intervene because the form was “potentially racist.”

The letter also said music should not automatically be treated as a “disruptive activity” that will inevitably lead to nuisance and disorder.

Feargal Sharkey, head of U.K. Music, which represents the U.K.’s commercial music industry, was one of the signatories. His organisation still isn’t happy that the Met hasn’t gone far enough in its revision of the form.

“The Metropolitan Police review process for this risk assessment form has not been conducted in a fully transparent way, and we would like to make it clear that U.K. Music has not been part of this review,” it said in a statement.

“UK Music stands by our position in support of the recommendations of the select committee for culture, media and sport. Form 696 should not be amended. It should be scrapped.”

Martin said the reason for asking about which artists were booked to perform was to see if their followers were likely to be involved in trouble.

“I’m not interested in the music type. Sometimes it’s just about the following,” he said. “If you have a series of people playing in a nightclub, each will have their own following. Sometimes those followings don’t get on.”

He said Form 696 is really about “saving lives,” as it allows the police and events promoters to share information.