Howie B has condemned the Police for their handling of fabric, both in the current case involving the deaths of two 18-year-olds from drug overdose, and throughout the club's history.
Speaking via Facebook, the veteran Glaswegian DJ says he believes the Police have "hijacked this tragedy to seek retribution against the club," following fabric's successful court battle against the Met last year.
Howie goes on to accuse the Police of unfair treatment of nightclubs, when they have failed stop drugs crossing our borders or infiltrating our of prisons, and suggests the Police have "abandoned" fabric by showing no interest in prosecuting drug dealers caught by staff at the venue and even failing to help with a bomb threat back in 2002, during a time of supposed high-alert security.
Howie also condemns Islington Council for the methods used in the club's ongoing licence review, stating: "The constructive and willful destruction of a wonderful institution and company is being conducted with little or no legal rights or privileges that should be expected in any such legal process."
You can read Howie B's statement in full below:
"I have been going to fabric since the day it opened. I have DJ’d and I know the organisation inside out. I would like to say that I was shocked by the latest action by the Police and Islington Council and then I wasn’t. Almost everyone involved with fabric, or knows anything about the organisation or industry knew this was coming from the moment that they won the licensing review last December. The judge at that hearing was so embarrassingly critical of police that everyone suspected revenge action would follow swiftly.
"Tragically two young people died after attending fabric and the police have hijacked this tragedy to seek retribution against the club by holding them responsible. Responsibility is the central theme of this case. The Police are using sledgehammer tactics and perverse use of licensing law to hold fabric responsible for these incidents, and destroy one of the most loved, revered, and indeed safest musical institutions the country has ever created.
"My understanding is that this entire case is based on the fact that the victims purchased 2 or 3 tablets of MDMA within the club and therefore fabric is responsible, having allowed this to cause the deaths of these 2 unfortunate young people. fabric is now being condemned and punished for the deaths on their premises by a police force that can barely manage to prevent their own staff killing people held in police cells on their premises and that have seemingly abandoned policing the drug dealing that results in these deaths completely. fabric like every other licensed premises throughout the country have been abandoned by the police to cope with this problem alone. It matters not that the police themselves with all the power and resources they possess have been spectacularly unable to do anything to stop the distribution of drugs themselves. They can’t stop it getting into prisons where there are just a few visitors a day that have to submit to whatever stringent search procedures they decide upon in controlled environment, and they have been able to do little to stop it flooding in through Airports, seaports and a variety of other smuggling methods. Nightclubs it appears, are unique in as much as they are held to a standard of responsibility that no one else is. Have you ever heard anyone call for the closure of an airport because drug mules pass through daily, thereby flooding our streets with illegal narcotics. I doubt it. Have you ever heard anyone suggest that we close the dover channel crossing or Eurostar because they have allowed their service to become a means of transport for hundreds of tonnes of narcotics, people trafficking, and heaven knows how much other contraband. Of course you haven’t. Just think for a moment how much illegal activity occurs in hotels. Countless people have taken overdoses and died in hotels. Prostitution and solicitation takes place there. How many conspiracies, major frauds or bank robberies do you think may have been discussed and planned in hotels? Have you ever heard any claim that hotels should be shut down because they are hotbeds of crime? It would clearly be ridiculous to do so. So why are nightclubs the only organistations to be held accountable in this way. It is plainly wrong and highly unfair. I can guarantee you that you will not find any other organisation of its size and volume that has put as much time care and money into drug prevention as fabric. They have an 18-year exemplary record in doing so, attested to throughout their history by the police and indeed Islington council.
"The abandonment of fabric by the police in tackling this issue is truly shocking. During my time there I have personally witnessed the chronic lack of support from the police. If fabric catches someone trying to smuggle drugs into the premises the police simply do want to know. They display no intention whatsoever of prosecuting these people. There solution is “take a photograph of them and don’t let them back in”. They have undoubtedly formed a view that it is easier to transfer responsibility and ultimate blame to the venues themselves. They have simply decided, very much as they have done with other areas of their responsibility, to ignore it. If they are prepared and willing to ignore the wholesale systematic rape and abuse of hundreds upon hundreds of children in Rotherham and heavens knows how many other towns up and down the country, should we really be surprised about this clear dereliction of duty on drug control. How the hell did we get here? It is absolutely ridiculous how we simply accept these police failings. Think about it for a moment. We have all come accept the fact that if our car is stolen, no one is coming to help. You could have your £150k Bentley stolen and the only option open to you is to call the police for a crime number and sacrifice your no claims bonus. In vast swathes of the country that’s the equivalent of having your house stolen in pure financial loss, and no one give a flying fig.
"If, as I do, you believe that drug control is a police matter and are shocked that the police force you trust and employ to deal with it have affectively and surreptitiously outsourced it, you will possibly be shocked, outraged, and further dismayed to learn that this is by no means the most serious issue they choose to ignore where nightclubs and the safety of young people is concerned. In October 2002 I witnessed this shameful dereliction of duty on a truly staggering scale. fabric received a bomb threat 2 weeks after the bombing of a nightclub in Bali. I had to sit there in amazement whilst the directors of the company pleaded with the police for some support advice or assistance. This went on for six hours. To their eternal shame, the only assistance they were prepared to offer was a roll of blue and white crime scene tape. And even that pitiful contribution was only available if they went to Islington police Station to collect it themselves. Sadly I have no effective medium to convey to you the level shock, fear, and disillusionment I felt that day. They would not send one single officer to the premises. This was in a period when they were telling us all that terrorism is the number one priority. Knowing this clearly lends some understanding to low priority drug control is likely to receive. I remember very well during this period that terrorism and lack of funding was always the reason given to excuse their refusal to deal with police matters. Personally I find this very hard to accept. They did not experience funding difficulties when following their disgraceful handling of the Stephen Lawrence case; they used public funding to hire private detectives to discredit his grieving family. They having no problem finding who knows how many millions to defend serving officers no matter how heinous or abhorrent the crimes they are accused of. I do not know exactly how much police funding was used to defend officers and obscure the truth from the families of the Hillsborough victims, but I feel sure it was many millions of our money used in a monumental effort to yet again, blame someone else for their own failings and lie about it for 25 years. Over 200 officers conspired with each other and the force command to manufacture evidence, and not one of them charged. How on earth can that happen. I am utterly bewildered that given the propensity and willingness of the police to manufacture and doctor evidence on this truly colossal scale, and in relation to an incident involving the deaths of 96 people that fabric now have to suffer the restriction of not even being allowed to challenge the police evidence against them. The constructive and willful destruction of a wonderful institution and company is being conducted with little or no legal rights or privileges that should be expected in any such legal process. It is being conducted in a council hall by a small group of council officials that have no legal background or training at all, and some of which have openly stated their personal desire to see fabric closed. Objectivity, neutrality and fairness will I fear be in acutely short supply from these councilors who are utilising licensing law to proclaim themselves judge, jury and hangman. There will be no witness box, and therefore no means by which fabric may contest or cross examine the evidence or accusations made against them. It is absolutely crazy that this small group of councilors with no legal training can be allowed to tinker with, distort, and manipulate national laws to suit their whims in a council banquet hall that has no such legal authority. It is not a court of law, and these are clearly matters for a court of law. I think they have clearly overstepped the bounds of their authority and are possibly guilty of misconduct in public office. I say that because the strategy they have employed bears all the hallmarks of a witch-hunt designed to cause maximum damage. The served these papers on a Wednesday night for a hearing at 5pm on the Friday night of the same week. They would have clearly known that in doing so, they would be depriving fabric of any means to prepare and defend themselves. It is also very clear to see that this ridiculous listing time was designed to ensure that fabric would have to close. Why else would anyone plan a hearing to commence 4 hours before the venue was due to open. The tactics are despicable and transparent.
"None of us can begin to imagine the trauma and depth of sadness that must have engulfed the families of these poor boys. Equally, I can understand the search to understand how this could have happened. What I can tell them with absolute honesty is that whilst the police have clearly and undeniably abandoned this area of policing and indeed the loved ones they have lost, doing virtually nothing to protect these young men from unscrupulous dealers, the directors of fabric have done everything in their power to prevent it. They haven’t been the last line of defence, they have been the only line of defence. They have been the only ones prepared to do anything to keep our young people safe, and they are there doing everything they can when someone does something foolish. The judge pointed this out in her summing up of the review process in December 2015. She stated that from all the evidence presented to her, fabric is clearly a beacon of good practice, and commended the fabric ops team and medical facilities. She also alluded to fact that the measures that police were seeking to implement (sniffer dogs) were in fact more damaging than helpful. It was recognized by the court that sight of the dogs caused young people to panic and ingest all the drugs in their possession and causing them to overdose. I know for a fact that the directors of fabric have received numerous death threats from criminal gangs because they chose to stand up to them and I know for a fact that whilst the police again did nothing to deter the threats made against the directors and staff of fabric, the directors were standing on the front door in bullet proof vests for months. That is lengths that fabric and its dedicated passionate staff have been prepared to go to. I was there. I saw it with my own eyes, and I would be prepared to swear to any of the claims I make here, on oath, and in any court in the land. I will of course not be allowed to do this because the police are ensuring this entire subversion of justice takes place in the kangaroo court of a council committee hearing. A process controlled entirely by the police and council officials who have an agenda and declared intention to shut down the nightlife industry. The consequences of this misguided and arrogant purge will do nothing but endanger young people further. We are heading straight back to illegal rave culture. Almost anyone can apply for a temporary license to host a pop up event. Pop up sounds quite cute and trendy doesn’t it. The reality I can assure you is very different. They are not regulated or inspected in the way that fabric is, and they do not have the medical staff or operational systems that have taken established venues years to perfect. They are not even there next week when something goes wrong. There was a death very recently at another venue and there was no paramedic at all. The police have chosen to do nothing about this case. It seems like 1 discriminatory law for fabric and another for others.
"fabric has the safest and most regulated infrastructure of any venue I know, but something has changed because these incidents are increasing nationwide. We must stop the deluded head burying police strategy and confront the problem. We all know why it is this happening. Drugs are getting much stronger, they are much more freely available and dealers are left free to operate with impunity. In the midst of this free for all, what do really expect venues to do? What if they asked all their customers to submit to a full cavity search? That is probably the only way they could have any impact. Sadly, it would appear from the evidence presented by the police, the poor souls involved in the fabric incidents are both the perpetrators and the victims of the crime that led to their untimely demise. They actually admit to buying 20 pills and smuggling them into the venue themselves. They are in fact dealers according to police protocols. Have they been arrested for this crime? No the police it appears have given them immunity in exchange for some very cooperative statements.
"If we allow ourselves to participate in the collective delusion that advocates suppressing the problem and driving it and our young people underground into unlicensed temporary venues, we will have only succeeded in making them more vulnerable and unsafe. And if we allow this persecution, bullying, and destruction of one of our most loved music venues, we probably deserve to live the kind of police state where such injustices may occur.
"If I was fabric, I would be getting ready to sue the police and the council for the damages they have caused, and I think it would only fair if they took steps to try a recover a substantial element of their security costs from the police budget. They have clearly been forced into doing the police’s work for all this time, having been compelled to do so by outdated, not fit for purpose licensing law.
"It is licensing law and indeed the police that need a review not fabric.
"There are legions of fabric fans out there. 2 generations of us have grown up going there regularly. There will be a massive campaign and a you.gov poll appearing very soon. There is also talk of a crowd-funding scheme to fight the police in their attempts to use licensing law as a tool to compel nightclubs to do their work for them. You simply must sign up and support these guys. When the police tried to impose dogs at venues, they were told two things. 1 they are only 23% accurate and they would therefore blight the lives of the remaining 77%. and 2, it is categorically illegal to use dog searches on the street. It constitutes infringement and invasion of your civil and human rights. Despite this they attempted (again through back door licensing laws) to compel fabric to break these laws and do their dirty work for them. fabric stopped this happening single handedly for the benefit of us all. We cant leave them to fight this one alone, we cant abandon them as the police have done. This one is too big. It’s not just about fabric. It is about us all. it is about our civil liberties, it is about stopping the police destroy the city we love, and it about stopping the perpetual corruption, and abuse of process that they engage in."
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