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29th May 2018

YouTube deletes 30 music videos at request of Met Police

Scotland Yard has accused drill of glamourising violent crime

Oli Dugmore

Scotland Yard has accused drill of glamourising violent crime

YouTube has removed more than 30 drill music videos at the request of the Metropolitan Police, police figures reveal.

Scotland Yard asked for the uploads to be deleted believing they incite violence in London.

Pressplay, a company that promotes drill music videos, posted on Instagram that police had “forced” YouTube to take some clips down because of “what’s happened lately” but that they “will probably be back up in the next few weeks.”

Cressida Dick, the Met Police commissioner, singled out the drill genre of rap music for glamourising violent crime.

A group of drill artists called 1011, whose videos have been removed from YouTube, has launched an online petition which has gained more than 5,000 signatures.

In the past two years Scotland Yard has asked YouTube to take down between 50 and 60 music videos, having to prove they incite violence for the requests to be successful. The force said it had been monitoring videos since September 2015.

The website has removed more than 30 of the clips from the platform where they were found to be in violation of its policies.

Detective Superintendent Mike West said: “The gangs try to out-rival each other with the filming and content – what looks like a music video can actually contain explicit language with gangs threatening each other.

“There are gestures of violence, with hand signals suggesting they are firing weapons and graphic descriptions of what they would do to each other.

“The Met has got a central database of more than 1,400 indexed videos that we assess and use to gather intelligence.

“Closer partnership work with Google has been developed in the past few months, in order to evolve and increase our capacity to remove social media videos that incite violence, as quickly as possible.”

He added that the force only asked for videos which “we believe raise the risk of violence” to be removed.

Speaking on LBC, Cressida Dick said: “Very quickly, you will see these are associated with lyrics which are about glamourising violence, serious violence – murder, stabbings – they describe the stabbings in great detail, with great joy and excitement.”

“Often, and we’ve seen this in London, we have gangs who make drill videos, and in those videos they taunt each other and say what they are going to do to each other, and specifically what they are going to do to who.”

A YouTube spokesperson said: “We work with the Metropolitan Police, the mayor’s office for policing and crime, the Home Office, and community groups to understand this issue and ensure we are able to take action on gang-related content that infringe our community guidelines or break the law.

“We have a dedicated process for the police to flag videos directly to our teams because we often need specialist context from law enforcement to identify real-life threats.

“Along with others in the UK, we share the deep concern about this issue and do not want our platform used to incite violence.”