The Metropolitan Police have announced new measures to crack down on gang violence by targeting those who post gang-related videos on social media.
Commander Jim Stokley, who is in charge of the Met’s response to gang crime, said that the force had been “in consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the Home Office” about how the Serious Crime Act could be used to prosecute people who post videos inciting violence to social media.
Under the Terrorism Act, the offence of inciting a person to commit an act of terrorism does not need to be linked to incident of terrorism.
Suspected gang members and videos relating to gang violence cannot be targeted under the Terrorism Act, though.
Former police officer Dai Davies told Jamie East: "We’ve stopped racists putting out all kinds of things, why is it wrong to stop certain men and women putting out these issues?"
He added that he'd like authorities to work together to tackle the root causes of gang crime.
"We have about 130 gangs in London. What I would like to see is far more c-oordination between all the authorities and social services.
"In California, where I’ve been working, everyone sits down together and they work together under the criminal justice system to try and tackle it. I don’t see that being done sufficiently in the United Kingdom."
Listen to Dai Davies on the Jamie East show
“There are no current cases in which we have tried this approach and our ability to use the legislation in this way will be dependent on the interpretation of the court,” Stokley said in a statement sent to talkRADIO.
"As shown by the innovative use of the Modern Slavery Act to prosecute 'county lines' drug dealers, the Met is committed to exploring all possible legislative options to target those responsible for offences linked to violent crime."
The Modern Slavery Act was used to jail drug dealers for the first time in April, when two men were sentenced to 19 years in jail for bringing a 19-year-old woman from London to South Wales and forcing her to carry drugs.
The Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick blamed a specific type of rap music known as drill, saying it “glamorises serious violence: murder, stabbings”.
In an interview with the Times, she said of social media:
“I think it certainly makes it more likely, it makes it faster, it makes it harder for people to cool down before they get going.
“It allows a conversation of a ‘show off’ sort that involves violence. I’m sure it does rev people up.”
She added that the force would not “be held back by so-called political correctness”.
Last year, 15-year-old Jermaine Goupall was stabbed to death by three teenagers in South London.
One of the killers was Junior Simpson, aka M-Trap, a drill rapper whose lyrics contained many references to violence, which the judge said were related to the murder.
But makers of drill say that while the music does reference crime and could be seen to glamourise it, it reflects their tough upbringings and doesn’t force anyone to commit violence.