The Metropolitan Police Service has a well-established working relationship with the night economy across London, and at a special meeting of the London Music Board meeting in September - co-hosted by Amy Lamé the Night Czar, Justine Simons OBE Deputy Mayor for Culture, and Superintendent Roy Smith from the Met - we welcomed the opportunity to carry out a full review and consultation of the ‘Form 696’ risk assessment process based on feedback from industry representatives.
Since that meeting, the Met’s Central Licensing Team has spoken to an extensive range of stakeholders, including local authority licensing managers, Musician’s Union, London Promoter’s Forum, the Institute of Licensing, and various venue owners.
The Form 696 was originally introduced in 2005 in response to a number of shootings at promoted club nights across London. There is no doubt that over the last decade a number of serious incidents have been prevented through the effective exchange of information, advice and intelligence between the Met, promoters and venue managers as part of this process.
However, we also recognise recent concerns raised by members of the London music industry, particularly around a perception that events associated with some genres of music were disproportionately affected by this process.
Superintendent Roy Smith, said: “It is clear that in recent years the landscape of the night time economy in London has changed and thankfully we have seen a reduction in serious incidents at promoted music events, particularly those involving firearms. We have also been working in close partnership with the music industry and others to raise standards of safety in venues and at events.
“We have taken the decision to remove the Form 696 and instead develop a new voluntary partnership approach for venues and promoters across London. This will provide an excellent opportunity to share information at a local level and work to identify any enhanced risk to ensure the safety of the public.”
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Developing a night-time economy that works for everyone is a key priority of mine but it’s also vital that live music events in London take place safely. I called for a review of Form 696 earlier this year because of concerns raised by promoters and artists in the capital that this process was unfairly affecting specific communities and music genres. By bringing together the Met and representatives from across the city’s legendary grassroots music industry, we have shown why having a Night Czar is so important for London.
“This decision will help London’s night-time economy thrive, ensure the capital is a welcoming place for artists and DJs of all music genres and that Londoners are able to enjoy live music safely.”
The Met will be working with colleagues from local authorities to understand the implication of this decision on venues which have the use of Form 696 as a condition on their premises licence as well as the impact on existing local licensing policies.