Police in Croydon have been accused of racial profiling after reportedly banning a nightclub from playing bashment music. The Croydon Advertiser reports that Roy Seda, owner of the town's Dice Bar, has been repeatedly asked by police not to play dancehall music in the club, linking it to crime and disorder.
“Singling out Caribbean and specifically Jamaican music as being associated with crime and disorder is profiling – which is unacceptable,” Nero Ughwujabo, chief executive of Croydon Black and Ethnic Minority Forum, told the Advertiser. “The borough commander must explain what intelligence is underpinning these assumptions instead of giving the impression a sizeable proportion of the population are not welcome in the town centre.”
The police have denied that there is any ban in place, but the Advertiser has seen a letter send to Seda that claims that the venue was playing “unacceptable forms of music”. The police have allegedly sent officers to the club to monitor the music that’s being played, yet have never told the venue specifically what songs or artists should be banned. The Advertiser have also seen minutes written by a police officer than reference an agreement "not to play bashman or John Paul (presumably referring to 'bashment' and 'Sean Paul') and claiming that Dice Bar was “not adhering to the music policy”.
Police and lawmakers in the UK have long targeted certain styles of music under the guise of preventing crime. Most famously, the Criminal Justice Act of 1994 was used to shut down raves and free parties by making large gatherings near music "characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats" illegal. And in 2008 there was outcry over Form 696, which gave police in London the power to shut down events at will and was seen to unfairly target events that would play black music like garage and grime.
We’ve reached out to Roy Seda and the Croydon police for comment.