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Door supervisors - Use of force

Posted on May 31, 2017 at 5:20 AM Comments comments (0)



Civil and Criminal Law and The Use of Force

Door supervisors are not above the law and have no special powers when carrying out their duties. You need to be aware of the law and to work within it.

Laws are binding rules of conduct imposed by the government and enforced through the courts

The main laws in England and Wales are:

  • Civil law - relates to less serious matters such as trespass and disputes
  • Criminal law - relates to more serious matters and comes from the following two sources:
  • Common law - comes from the customs and traditions of the people over many years (not from legislation)
  • Statute law - laws passed by Parliament and given Royal Assent

Types of Assault

  • There are several types of assault in England Wales:
  • Common assault - no real physical injury 
  • Actual bodily harm (ABH) - moderate physical injury (usually of a temporary nature)
  • Grevious bodily harm (GBH) - serious physical injury (GBH and ABH can include 'with intent')
  • Assault on a police officer - regarded as a more serious assault
  • Racially aggravated assault - assault which is accompanied by racial abuse or which is racially motivated
  • Indecent assault

Use of Force

The Criminal Law of 1967 (section 3) states that:

  • 'Any person may use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances in the prevention of a crime or in the effecting (or assisting in) the lawful arrest of offenders or suspected offenders or persons unlawfully at large.'
  • Common law states that if a person has an honest upheld belief that they or another is in imminent danger, then they may use as such force as is reasonable or necessary to avert that danger.
  • Using too much force in the past has given door supervisors a bad name and reputation.
  • If you use more force than is reasonable and necessary in the circumstances you may face a prosecution for assault.

If you have to use force you need another member of staff to assist you in order to:

Provide a witness.

Prevent injury to yourself and the customer. Single person techniques(such as the full-nelson hold, choke holds or head-locks) are inherently dangerous and pose increased risk of serious injury to the customer. To read about the consequences of a single-person (full-nelson)intervention with horrific consequences for the customer and a four year jail sentence for the door supervisor, see the case of Andrew Lee. Remember, you may have to justify any use of force in court ... and there are lawyers who make a dedicated business of pursuing assault claims against door supervisors on a no-win-no-fee basis.

Your authority does not go beyond the door of the licensed premises. While you might be responsible for assisting with ingress, egress and the monitoring of queues outside your venue, your authority to refuse entry, evict customers etc comes from acting as an agent on behalf of the licensee and that authority only applies within the boundaries of those licensed premises, not beyond.

The Court Decides

The use of force is an area where you need to use your own judgement and professionalism. Personal integrity is an important quality required for door supervisors who are entrusted with looking after public safety (one of the four Licensing objectives of the 2003 Licensing Act).

One of the reasons the SIA was introduced to regulate and license front-line personnel working in the private leisure and security industry was to reduce the criminality and aggression which existed previously in some quarters on the doors.

For the professional modern-day door supervisor, the ability to recognise and defuse problems and issues before they become conflict situations is essential. Being alert and observant at all times (for example, assessing customers as they enter the premises then monitoring customer behaviour inside the venue)is a key part of the job, as is offering excellent customer service and professionalism to the public. After all, the private leisure and security industry is highly competitive -we want our customers to have faith in the professionalism in door staff, to have a safe and enjoyable experience and to return to our venues.

A court will decide whether any force used was reasonable and necessary in the circumstances. Before you use force you need to consider all the alternatives, including where practicable, leaving the situation.

Clearly there are times when as a door supervisor you will have no alternative but to use force. If you do have to use force, the force you use should be minimal, proportionate to the threat you face and no more than is reasonable and necessary in the particular circumstances.

Chose a reputable training provider for your classroom-based door supervisor training. Once you are working as an operative, always remember your conflict management training (use dynamic risk assessment and the SAFER approach to keep risk to a minimum) and your communication skills before resorting to using force and don't get drawn into disputes with customers where you may start to lose your objectivity. You need to have self-awareness too. Think about what makes you irritable and short-tempered: tiredness, hunger and so on can all affect how you respond to customers in a potentially threatening situation. You need to develop self-awareness and take steps to ensure you stay fit, alert and professional while you are working.

If you do have to use force think about how other people (for example, a judge and jury!) would see it and ask yourself the following questions:

Is there a need to use any force at all (for example, can I talk the customer out of the door?)

Is the person threatening to use any weapons?

How does the person compare to me in terms of gender, size, build, age?

Since June 2010 all new door supervisors have had to be trained in physical intervention skills which teaches them the skills needed to escort customers safely from premises.

Always log any use of force in your personal notebook and the Security Incident Logbook.

The Consequences

The consequences of using too much force (apart from the potential injury caused to the customer) are:

Accusations of assault

Police investigation

Possible prosecution and criminal record

Bad reputation for you and your company

Loss of job and income

A door supervisor's role, responsibilities

Posted on May 31, 2017 at 5:15 AM Comments comments (0)

The modern door supervisor puts customer service first.

As front-line operatives door supervisors are the public face of their organisation/employer and should always adhere to company standards and guidelines. They are the first people customers see at the beginning of the night and the last people they see at the end of the night so a professional and courteous manner is essential at all timesin the highly competitive leisure and security industry.

The main role of a door supervisor is to ensure that customers have an enjoyable experience in a safe environment. This customer focussed definition is far removed from the hackneyed stereotype of the 'old-school bouncer.' The mission of theSecurity Industry Authority (SIA)is to regulate the private security industry effectively, reduce criminality and raise standards. So today's door supervisor needs to be aware of the law. Part 1 of the door supervisors training course gives the door supervisor the underpinning knowledge s/he needs to work within the law.

If you are choosing a door supervisor training course it is a good idea to pick a good quality course, not necessarily the cheapest, as quality varies from provider to provider.

The Private Security Industry Act 2001

In 2001 the Private Security Industry Act became law and in 2003 the Security Industry Authority came into being. The SIA is responsible for regulating the private security industry. It is also responsible for the compulsory licensing of individuals working in designated roles in the industry. Since 2006 it has been compulsory for all door supervisors to be licensed by the SIA.

In order to get a licence to practice a door supervisor needs to:

Attend a two part training course: roles and responsibilities and communication/conflict management

  • Pass two multiple choice exams
  • Clear a criminal record check

By attending the training course and getting a licence to practice the door supervisor shows that s/he will do the job fairly and confidently and according to the law; give customers confidence in their ability to do the job; bring greater professionalism to the industry.

From June 2010 the SIA is changing the training requirements for new door supervisors. The course will become modular and physical intervention training will become mandatory for all new door supervisors. Exisiting door supervisors may have to take compulsory physical intervention training from May 2011 depending on the results of the SIA's public consultation on the issue. one of the key reasons for introducing physical intervention training is to improve public safety. Public safety is one the the four licensing objectives of the Licensing Act 2003.

The penalties for working as an unlicensed security operative are serious: up to six months in prison and/or up to a 5000 fine.


Official SIA

For the official sia website: http://www.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk

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