YouTube has deleted over 30 music videos that are claimed to incite violence after a request from a U.K. police commissioner, according to multiple reports. As reported by the BBC, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick asked YouTube to delete music videos that police believe encourage or glamorize violence, singling out London’s drill scene specifically for the rise of murders and knife crime in London.
“Drill music is associated with lyrics which are about glamorizing serious violence: murder, stabbings,” Dick told LBC radio earlier this month. “They describe the stabbings in great detail, joy and excitement. Extreme violence against women is often talked about. Most particularly, in London we have gangs who make drill videos and in those videos, they taunt each other. They say what they’re going to do to each other and specifically what they are going to do to who.”
Drill is a genre of rap that originated in Chicago and became known around the world thanks to its breakout star Chief Keef. It is notorious for its aggressive production and stirring controversy around its violent lyrics and gang affiliations in light of Chicago’s murder rate. Drill has become a popular staple in Britain’s crime-ridden neighborhoods as a way for the marginalized to rap about their experiences.
According to the BBC, police have asked YouTube for the past two years to remove “between 50 and 60 music videos, because they were deemed to incite violence.” YouTube recently complied by removing “more than 30″ videos, though it’s still not clear the exact number or which specific videos were taken down.
“We have developed policies specifically to help tackle videos related to knife crime in the UK and are continuing to work constructively with experts on this issue,” a YouTube spokesperson told the BBC in a statement. “Along with others in the UK, we share the deep concern about this issue and do not want our platform used to incite violence.”
The Independent reports that the police have collected a database of more than 1400 videos from YouTube to gather intelligence, noting that “anyone identified in the slick videos can be targeted with action including criminal behavior orders that can prevent them from associating with certain people, entering designated areas, wearing hoods or using social media and unregistered mobile phones.”
One drill group, 1011, have already launched an online petition to stop YouTube from banning their videos, and an organization called Press Play OK, which promotes drill videos, released a statement on Instagram saying police had “forced” YouTube to take down some its videos. Adeel Amini, an editor from Press Play appeared on the BBC Tuesday morning, saying that YouTube’s decision to comply with police demands sets a “dangerous precedent.”