UK drill music increasingly being used as evidence in court

An expert in criminal evidence said we should be "seriously concerned about what's happening in our courtrooms"

13.01.21

Words by: Felicity Martin

According to a new report by the BBC, UK drill music is increasingly being used as evidence for trials in court.

The report looks at nearly 70 trials across the UK from 2005 where drill and rap was used in evidence, with most in the last two years.

The piece cites numerous court cases where some topics drill music covers – regarding gang rivalries or violence – is held up as evidence to support a crime being committed, but some defence lawyers argue that this inhibits a fair trial.

Abenaa Owusu-Bempah, an expert in criminal evidence at the London School of Economics, is quoted as saying that the “police, prosecutors and courts do not acknowledge or appreciate the artistic value of rap music” and that we should be “seriously concerned about what’s happening in our courtrooms”.

Figures given to the BBC show that since November 2016 the Met has made 579 referrals for “potentially harmful content” to be removed from social media platforms, of which 522 were removed, mainly from YouTube.

Digga D is one drill artist who is having his music policed, and now has to submit his lyrics to the authorities for approval before releasing it.

Read our piece on why criminalising drill music highlights failings at the heart of the UK government.

Britain has a long history of banning various forms of music – take a look back at some examples of misguided music censorship.