Drill rappers ordered to inform police before recording or performing songs
It is believed to be the first order of its kind.
Police have warned drill musicians they face tough legal restrictions after five were banned from encouraging violence in their rap videos and ordered to warn police before they record or perform songs.
In what is believed to be the first order of its kind, a judge on Friday also banned Yonas Girma, 21, Micah Bedeau, 19, Isaac Marshall, 18, Jordan Bedeau, 17, and Rhys Herbert, 17, from mentioning death or injury in songs or on social media.
The gang members who are part of the 1011 drill group – based in Ladbroke Grove, west London – have had millions of views on YouTube with tracks in the genre linked to a rise in violent crime.
Recorder Ann Mulligan, sitting at Kingston Crown Court, issued the three-year criminal behaviour orders (CBO) applied for by the Metropolitan Police’s Trident gang unit after the men were locked up for conspiracy to commit violent disorder.
Detective Chief Superintendent Kevin Southworth, head of Trident, denied the criminal behaviour orders are censorship and said they are necessary for the genre used “to goad, to incite, to provoke, to inflame” violence.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
A Met spokeswoman added the orders are “increasingly” being considered against such music.
Police have connected the sub-genre of rap music – which often features masked or hooded groups talking about hedonistic lifestyles and their relationships with guns, drugs and stabbings – with a rise in violent crime in the capital.
The orders state that, on social media and in music videos and performances, the men must not encourage violence, mention named postcodes in a gang context, or make reference to the death of Teewiz, the nickname of 19-year-old Abdullahi Tarabi, who was fatally stabbed in west London.
They must also notify police within 24 hours of releasing new videos and give 48 hours warning of the date and location of any performance or recording and permit officers to attend.
Freedom of expression campaigners criticised the move.
Index on Censorship chief executive Jodie Ginsberg said: “Banning a kind of music is not the way to handle ideas or opinions that are distasteful or disturbing.
“This isn’t going to address the issues that lead to the creation of this kind of music, nor should we be creating a precedent in which certain forms of art which include violent images or ideas are banned.
“We need to tackle actual violence, not ideas and opinions.”
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has blamed social media for fuelling a surge in murders in London and singled out drill, while Scotland Yard has a database of more than 1,400 videos and has asked YouTube to remove up to 60 of them in the past two years.
After an investigation into their music and social media accounts, the men hit with the ban were arrested on November 9 in Colville Square, Notting Hill, while armed with four large machetes, baseball bats, masks, balaclavas and gloves.
The defendants said they were about to make a music video, but police suspected they were planning to attack a rival group, 12 World.
The judge said their arrests averted a “very serious violent incident” between two gangs.
They admitted the lesser charge having denied counts of conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm with intent.
Girma, of Hounslow Road, Hanworth; Marshall, of Ladbroke Grove; Herbert, of Lonsdale Road, Notting Hill; and brothers Jordan and Micah Bedeau, of Colville Square, are serving jail or detention sentences for between 10 months and three-and-a-half years.