And now, in an unprecedented move, The Metropolitan Police is to apply to a judge for criminal behaviors orders (CBOs) that would prohibit five gang members who planned to attack rivals with machetes from producing drill music that “references violence” for three or five years.
According to The Independent, the highly unusual move marks an apparent escalation of the force’s controversial crackdown on drill, a genre of rap which originated in Chicago before crossing over to Britain.
Last month YouTube deleted more than 30 drill videos following a request from Scotland Yard, which has launched a dedicated operation against the genre.
Detectives say the videos glamourise and often explicitly threaten violence, but fans and artists argue they reflect the experiences of a disenfranchised inner-city youth.
Some of the videos removed from YouTube feature rappers subject to the CBO application and who detectives say are “promoting violence through their lyrics”.
According to the police, the group in question were all members of a Notting Hill gang which planned to attack rivals. They armed themselves with machetes, knives and baseball bats for a suspected revenge attack on a gang from Shepherd’s Bush who threatened and harassed one of the members relatives. All five members pleaded guilty to commit violent disorder last month and will be sentenced on Thursday (June 7).
One of the key reasons why the police is pushing the court ban is because after being stopped by police, the Notting Hill gang initially claimed the weapons were props for a drill music video.
After sentencing, the police will apply for the court ban, citing evidence which they believe demonstrates how the gang were “promoting violence through their lyrics and actions”.