Sixty-five signatories from human rights organisations, as well as musicians, lawyers and academics, call on the Metropolitan police to stop using repressive injunctions against musicians as a means to reduce gang violence

We note the recent conviction of two young musicians, and wish to register our serious concern at the increasing use of so-called “gang injunctions” as a means of policing artistic expression (‘They made us criminals for making music’, G2, 1 February). These injunctions are demonstrably ineffective at tackling youth violence, and present a threat to all our civil liberties. The injunction that precipitated the conviction of these two artists was alarming in its breadth. As with other injunctions used against “gangs” and “gang-related” activity under the Policing and Crime Act 2009, it did not simply prohibit incitement to violence but banned references to individuals, events and places. We’ve seen other injunctions used to ban musicians from even making work that could be seen as “encouraging” violence, again under threat of criminalisation. How many now-celebrated artists and poets and polemicists would survive such limitations?

Incitement to violence is rightly an existing offence, but these injunctions go much further than this. We condemn this suppression: silencing one of the few avenues, through threat of criminalisation, by which young people can discuss the reality of their lives with any hope of being heard. The heavy-handed policing of music, and the structurally racist outcomes that follow from it, are not new. There is also a wealth of evidence to prove that limiting civil liberties in an attempt to appear tough on crime does not work. We call on the Metropolitan police to stop seeking these repressive and counterproductive injunctions. All artists should be afforded the same rights to freedom of speech and creative expression.

Corey Stoughton Acting director, Liberty
Jodie Ginsberg CEO, Index on Censorship
Liz Feteke Director, Institute of Race Relations
Temi Mwale Director, 4Front Project
Richard Garside Director, Centre for Crime and Justice Studies
Suresh Grover Director, The Monitoring Group
Kevin Blowe Coordinator, Network for Police Monitoring
Ilyas Nagdee NUS Black Students Campaign
Sarah Lasoye Women’s officer, NUS Women’s Campaign
Joshua Virasami Black Lives Matter
Andy Gregg CEO, Race on the Agenda
Jasmine Dotiwala Broadcaster
Paul Gilroy
Harry Stopes London Campaign Against Police and State Violence
Jan Cunliffe Co-founder, Joint Enterprise Not Guilty by Association JENGbA
Linda Maitland #Grime4Corbyn
Estella Schmid Campaign Against Criminalising Communities
Samantha Asumadu Founder, Media Diversified
Elif Sarican Kurdistan Students Union
Amanda Fernandez Creative Director, FerArts
Crispin Parry British Underground
Lois Clifton Materialist Lawyers
Halimo Hussain Decolonising Our Minds
Miranda Pannell Artists for Palestine
A Singh Consented
Drilliminster Drill artist
Saskilla Grime artist
Mykaell Riley Principle investigator, Bass Culture Research, University of Westminster
AWATE Rapper
Matt Foot Solicitor, Birnberg Peirce and Partners
Rachel Harger Solicitor, Bindmans LLP
James Mehigan Barrister, Garden Court Chambers
Michael Etienne Barrister
Malia Bouattia Activist and journalist
Dalia Gebrial Editor, Novara Media
James Butler Head of audio, Novara Media
Paul Field Writer and Lawyer
Ash Sarkar Journalist
Dr Adam Elliott-Cooper Department of geography, King’s College London
Dr Lambros Fatsis Lecturer in sociology and criminology
Tanzil Chowdhury Lecturer in public law, Queen Mary’s University London
Dr Kojo Koram Lecturer, Birkbeck School of Law
Remi Joseph-Salisbury University of Manchester
Sivamohan Valluvan University of Warwick
Dr Marika Rose University of Winchester
Dr Luke de Noronha Associate Lecturer, Birkbeck College
Jas Nijjar Brunel University London
Dr Musab Younis Lecturer in international relations, Queen Mary University of London
Dr Naaz Rashid University of Sussex
D Sita Balani Lecturer, King’s College London
KeremNis¸ancıog˘lu Lecturer, Soas, University of London
Prof Virinder Kalra University of Warwick
Dr Fatima Rajina Lecturer, Kingston University
Leon Sealey-Huggins Lecturer, University of Warwick
Karis Campion University of Manchester
Dr Majed Akhter King’s College London
Dr Sam Burgum Sheffield University
Dr Amber Murrey University of Oxford
Dr Monique Charles
Dr Robert Jeffery Sheffield Hallam
Dr Sofia Mason
Dr Asim Qureshi Researcher
Ope Adegbulu Lecturer
Timesh Pillay
Dharmi Kapadia Lecturer
Prof Vron Ware Kingston University

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