Just weeks after it was announced that YouTube had begun taking down videos that the UK police deemed to be “violent”, one musical group have been told they’re unable to make music without express permission from law enforcement officials.
Last month, it was revealed that a number of music videos of the drill music genre had been removed at the behest of UK police, with the genre being blamed for a rise in gang behaviour in Britain.
“Drill music is associated with lyrics which are about glamourising serious violence: murder, stabbings,” explained Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick in an interview last month. “They describe the stabbings in great detail, joy and excitement. Extreme violence against women is often talked about.”
“Most particularly, in London we have gangs who make drill videos and in those videos, they taunt each other. They say what they’re going to do to each other and specifically what they are going to do to who.”
Now, as The Fader reports, drill group 1011 appear to be the first group on the chopping block, receiving a music-making ban in a move that has been described as “unprecedented”.
Last November, all five members of 1011 had been arrested by police last November for conspiracy to commit violent disorder after being caught with a number of weapons. Despite telling police they were on their way to film a drill music video, police believed they were actually on their way to attack a rival group, and all members of 1011 were hit with jail and detention sentences ranging from ten months to three-and-a-half years.
Now, for the next three years, each of the group’s members must seek permission prior to making music, and even then, they’re not allowed to rap about “death or injury”, or mention “postcodes in a gang context”. Likewise, police must be notified about any performance or filming 48 hours in advance and must be present for these activities, while they must also alert law officials 24 hours before releasing a new music video.
As The Guardian reports, Detective Chief Superintendent Kevin Southworth stated, “We believe this to be one of the first times, if not the first time, we have succeeded in gaining criminal behaviour orders that take such detailed and firm measures to restrict the actions of a gang who blatantly glorified violence through the music they created.”
“We’re not in the business of killing anyone’s fun, we’re not in the business of killing anyone’s artistic expression – we are in the business of stopping people being killed.”
“This isn’t about us straying into the area of regulation or censorship – we are not trying to ban anyone from making music nor are we demonising any one type of music. But the public rightly expect us to take action in a case such as this where a line has very clearly been crossed and the safety of individuals is put at risk.”
However, Jodie Ginsberg, chief executive of Index on Censorship explained that the court order imposed on the group was rife with problems. “Banning a kind of music is not the way to handle ideas or opinions that are distasteful or disturbing,” explained Ginsberg.
“We need to tackle actual violence, not ideas and opinions.”