New Report Finds Troubling Rise In Use Of Drill Music In UK Criminal Courts

New Report Finds Troubling Rise In Use Of Drill Music In UK Criminal Courts

January 14, 2021

A new BBC report has found that UK drill and rap music are increasingly being used as evidence used during trial. The report examined nearly 70 trials across Britain from 2005 in which lyrics from drill and rap were used as evidence, primarily in the last two years. However, defence lawyers argue that citing lyrics as evidence inhibits the chance of 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."

The Met Police have directly acted against the growth of the drill scene, as figures demonstrate that since November 2016, 579 referrals for "potentially harmful content" were made imploring content to be removed from social media. Of the 579 referrals, 522 were removed, mostly from YouTube.

A documentary following drill sensation Digga D explored how the artist was having his music censored by authorities, forcing him to jump through prohibitive loopholes, including submitting his lyrics for approval prior to release. Many argue that drill is a fictional art form and should not be considered synonymous with violence, much like violent films shown in a cinema.

This continues a worrying trend that young artists are being denied freedom of expression through misconceptions about their art form.

Words: Ian Opolot