Monday, January 02, 2006

Assault by Door Staff

If you believed every drunken reveller who reports an assault by a door supervisor to the police, you would think that licensed premises in Britain employ inhuman monsters, with tempers as short as the skirts of many of the girls, and fists as ready as guys who chat the girls up. Pubs and clubs are a veritable battleground, in which the gatekeepers of the door engage in constant and unprovoked battles with innocent men and women, sober as magistrates, who just want to get in for a good night out. Incapable of even so much as the thought of uttering an expletive, these hapless victims of power-tripping door supervisors are regularly assaulted for even so much as looking in the direction of these evil burly beasts, who wouldn't hesitate to eject you from a club using more force on you than a fighter pilot executing a high-G turn, for such heinous offences as looking at them in the wrong way, or laughing slightly too loudly, or will refuse to let you in if you have the wrong face, pushing you flat onto your back for added measure.

And as for the role of the police in this...

...well again, according to these poor, innocent, defenceless people, the police are in league with the devil and the door supervisors. Refusing to override the door supervisor's decision to refuse entry or to eject someone is simply unacceptable and is abuse of power and privelige by the officer. Upon arriving at the scene and hearing only the side of the story that utters forth from the fine upstanding citizen's lips, police should immediately arrest the offending door supervisor for attempted murder; ensure they are locked in a cell for a very long time; confer rights of free entry, queue-jumping and priority access to the bar upon the aggreived person and offer an immediate apology for the actions of the door staff. After all, it IS a police matter, and the reveller DOES pay the wages of the officer in full, thereby being exempt, by implied right, of any repercussions that may have arised from any wrongdoing which caused them to be ejected or refused entry into the premises in the first place. Of course, that's a moot point anyway, since the reveller is incapable of any wrongdoing, past, present of future - any police action against them is illegal and unjust, and they were clearly set up by corrupt officers who beat them to within an inch of their life.

The reality, as anyone will know, is often quite different.

Many, many allegations of door staff are made on Friday and Saturday nights, forming a large number of the jobs and incidents, with a token few during the week just to keep officers on their toes. The report is investigated when there's free resources, and upon checking CCTV (if there is any), getting both sides of the story and 5 seconds of observing the language and behaviour of the complainant, the result is often radioed up as "lawful ejection, no offences" - this translates as: "The complainant has been a drunken idiot having done (insert drunkenly aggressive or stupid thing here), resulting in them being ejected/refused entry into the premises. To try and get their own back and attempt to get in anyway, they've feigned an assault to involve the police, aiming to scare the door supervisor into letting them in or for the police to reverse the decision."

Police aren't door staff - it's not their decision, nor should it be, as to who does and who doesn't go into a club, or who should or who shouldn't be ejected. There's a variety of reasons for this - not being bankrolled by the club in question, and having higher priorities are just two that spring to mind. However, the hard-done-by reveller who has been lawfully ejected often fails to realise this - collar numbers are entered into mobile phones and the ends of careers are vowed. The same people then wake up the next day having forgotten all about the night before, and wondering what the hell this strange number is in their phone.

There is no denying that there are some door staff who are overzealous, too physical, or both, and assaults, some of them serious, do occur. Those who commit these offences ARE arrested and dealt with accordingly. Furthermore, door supervisors can be held accountable to a variety of organisations, including the door company the work for, the premises which contracts the company to run the door, the SIA (Security Industry Authority, the body responsible for licensing and training security personnel) and the licensing unit of the local area and police force. People who genuinely feel hard done by should write in and complain, with as much information and evidence of the incident to support their claim. If, however, the decision is made that the incident is a 'lawful ejection', and the allegations of assault are unfounded, then blowing up at officers or door supervisors is not the most productive method of airing the grievance, it is also a sure-fire way to end up in a cell or with a fine! Go home, calm down, sleep and you’ll feel better the next day!

(c) Bow Street Runner. None of the material contained in this post, or this blog as a whole, may be reproduced without the express and written permission of Bow Street Runner. All rights reserved.
I've had many an experience of this. Only a few times did the door staff end up getting nicked, one of those that I remember did not come quietly (6 officers later)..

A mate of mine was drinking in a club in the local town when he started having an argument with his girlfriend. The bouncers took exception and ejected him. Unfortunately, the ejection was down a large & steep flight of stairs head first. As he lay unconsious at the bottom of the stairs, his warrant card fell out of his pocket. The warrant card magicly disappeared along with the CCTV (as it always does when there is something dodgey going on). The next day he visited the cop shop to report it but nothing could be proved...
This is a very good post, myself being an (ex) door supivisor In southampton.
Unfortunately I have experienced the other side of this argument. I have been ejected from a public house with unreasonable force and being a very slight woman found the doorstaff's behaviour both abusive and unacceptable. I find your comments not only inflammatory but inefficient and poorly articulated. Surely you could, should you wished to, find more compelling arguments for the defence of abusive thugs left in charge of security in mis- managed premises and the police's inability to enforce the full implications of the law. P.S. Whilst I do not appreciate stereotypes and feel that it should not be obvious to your audience that you are a member of security staff...the spelling mistakes give it away somewhat!
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