Amber Rudd calls on music industry to step up in gang violence crackdown
Amber Rudd has urged influential figures in the music business to play their part in tackling rising gang violence.
The Home Secretary said those behind chart hits should have a “positive influence” on young people by moving away from lyrics which glamorise violence and misogynistic attitudes.
She made the plea while unveiling the Government’s Serious Violence Strategy, which comes amid a mounting death toll due to soaring knife and gun crime in recent weeks.
Ms Rudd said online platforms had to take the removal of gang content, including videos and music, as seriously as ridding the internet of social media posts which promote terror.
And she agreed when asked if such pressure should extend to pop stars and record labels over lyrics referring to gang culture and using offensive terms for women.
“I think sometimes it’s easy to underestimate how much of young people’s lives are spent on social media and we need to make sure we influence some of the output in a way that doesn’t have the devastating impacts that we’ve seen,” she said.
“So I think yes, looking to the music industry to also have a positive influence is a very good suggestion.”
Ms Rudd said the use of social media can have “deadly” consequences and said firms had to bear responsibility for keeping people safe as much as the Government does.
She added: “It’s already an offence to incite or encourage violence online and I expect to see social media companies standing by their obligations to remove this kind of content as necessary.
“But that alone, isn’t enough. Social media companies must do more, so today I am calling on them to review their terms and conditions and make it clear that they will not host any content linked to gangs or gang violence.
“Some might say that this is impossible, but when I called on social media companies to deal with terrorist content on their platforms, they listened and they took action and I’m asking them to do so again.”
CORBYN: RUDD ‘COMPLETELY UNDERMINED’
Her speech followed the leak of a Home Office document which suggested offenders may have been “encouraged” by falling police numbers – despite the Home Secretary yesterday insisting “the evidence does not support” that claim.
Ms Rudd this morning doubled down on her assertion however and said such theories were “simplistic”.
But the embarrassing revelation was seized on by Jeremy Corbyn, who said she had been “completely undermined” and must explain her comments to MPs when parliament reconvenes next week.
Speaking as he launched Labour's campaign for the elections in London next month, the party’s leader said: "The daily experience of every single one of us in this room, whatever party you support, is that when there are no [police community support officers], no safer neighbourhood team, no local police facilities, then you feel a sense of unease and being frightened.
“Then violent crime increases and you get people acting with impunity going round robbing people. It does mean having more police on the streets."
Ms Rudd was also left embarrassed this morning when she said she had not read the leaked Home Office report - despite it being drawn up to feed directly into her crime-fighting strategy.