The Birmingham-based Serious Violence, Organized Crime and Exploitation Unit (SVOCE) has noticed the increasing use of music as a method of gang bragging, goading rivals and violent crime. In some cases, they showed jurors rapping in videos and bragging about their crimes.
Director of Public Prosecutions Max Hill QC said: “Social media, mobile phones and boring music have been a massive recent change in crime over the past few years.
“The footprint a gang can leave now is enormous, whether on social media or in drill music videos. Drill music is not a crime, it is meant to shock, so we cannot not take it literally.
“However, we can use video to show defendants – who say they don’t know each other because there is no CCTV of them together and phones have been thrown away – in fact know each other because they appeared together in music videos.”
Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor Douglas Mackay said: “There are certain sensitivities that we need to be aware of. Just using the term gang can create unconscious bias, it’s not to smear defendants, and as with drill music, there are times when we’re not going to present it to the jury.”
The SVOCE team has extensive expertise in dealing with young people involved in crime and are trained to determine whether an apparent criminal is in fact a victim of modern day slavery and exploitation.
Mr Mackay added: “We are dealing with young offenders, we encourage our prosecutors to dig deep and the case may be that these young people who commit crimes are themselves threatened and forced to do things. In these cases , they could be the ones being exploited, and we will seek to hijack them, or even use them as cookies.”