Nightlife bosses warn that bouncer shortage is a “threat to public safety”

The Night Time Industry Association (NTIA) has warned that bouncer shortages in the UK could become a “threat to public safety”.

NTIA members believe that staffing levels are under 70 per cent of what they should be, which they blame on a combination of workers quitting during the pandemic, Brexit and a lack of EU workers.

One in five nightlife businesses are believed to have closed or cut hours because they can’t get security staff, the BBC reports.

The UK government has said that it’s helping people “retrain, build new skills and get back into work to help fill vacancies” but the NTIA has called on it to do even more by “funding training initiatives, streamlining new training requirements, or tackling shortages through legislation”.

COVID passports
Businesses in Scotland are now obliged by law to check the vaccination status of everyone entering most pubs, bars and night clubs. CREDIT: Rob Pinney/Getty Images

The NTIA added that the government should introduce temporary visas for EU workers to fill empty roles.

Michael Kill, CEO of NTIA, told the BBC: “Door security staff shortages in the nighttime economy are becoming critical. We carried out a survey a few months ago which found that security resource in the sector was only at 70 per cent, and I am afraid that the situation has only deteriorated further since then.

“Whether it is through acting as a first line of defence against a terrorist attack, or intervening to break up violent incidents, licensed security staff are fundamental to public safety.”

He added that current shortages are “beginning to put the public in real jeopardy”.

Tom Robinson, a bouncer and owner of ESP Security Solutions owner, told the BBC that Christmas workloads increase by about 30 per cent. He said that he is “not confident” that his firm will be able to meet that jump.

That could mean more nightclubs and venues shutting over the festive period.

The NTIA added that the “government must come to the table and look at these solutions we are putting forward as sector – this is a serious problem, which, if left alone, may lead to a tragedy”.

Egg venue
Clubbers at Egg nightclub hug each other on ‘Freedom Day’, July 19, 2021. CREDIT: Rob Pinney/Getty Images

Meanwhile, the organisation recently called Scotland’s roll-out of COVID passports for venues a “shambles” following numerous reports of there being problems with the apps.

Businesses in Scotland are now obliged by law to check the vaccination status of everyone entering most pubs, bars, function rooms, or nightclubs who will still be on the premises after midnight, either by scanning the QR code on the NHS Covid Passport app, visually checking the status, or checking a printed paper copy of vaccine status.

“It has become very clear that the Scottish App is simply not fit for purpose and the vast majority of people are experiencing repeated problems in registering and uploading their personal vaccine status to the app,” the NTIA said.

“The NTIA has repeatedly warned Scottish government of just how unworkable their vaccine passport plan is, and the disastrous launch of this flawed scheme has proved that our warnings were well founded.”

In England, the plan for vaccine passports for nightclubs, sporting events and large live music events has been scrapped.