Policing the beats: The criminalisation of UK drill and grime music by the London Metropolitan Police

Lambros Fatsis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As debates on the rise of violent crime in London unfold, UK drill music is routinely accused of encouraging criminal behaviour among young Black Britons from deprived areas of the capital. Following a series of bans against drill music videos and the imposition of Criminal Behaviour Orders and gang injunctions against drill artists, discussions on the defensibility of such measures call for urgent, yet hitherto absent, sociological reflections on a topical issue. This article attempts to fill this gap, by demonstrating how UK drill and earlier Black music genres, like grime, have been criminalised and policed in ways that question the legitimacy of and reveal the discriminatory nature of policing young Black people by the London Metropolitan Police as the coercive arm of the British state. Drawing on the concept of racial neoliberalism, the policing of drill will be approached theoretically as an expression of the discriminatory politics that neoliberal economics facilitates in order to exclude those who the state deems undesirable or undeserving of its protection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1300-1316
JournalThe Sociological Review
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2019


  • drill music
  • grime
  • police racism
  • policing of Black music subcultures
  • race and crime
  • racial neoliberalism


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