Nightclubs have warned of a “tragedy where lives are lost” unless the government intervenes to ameliorate a shortage of bouncers.
Late-night venues are “running out of time” as a busy summer season approaches, bosses at the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) and UK Door Security Association cautioned.
Nightclubs are eagerly awaiting their first full summer in three years without Covid restrictions, after the sector was shut down amid the pandemic.
Three quarters of businesses said a security staff crunch was impinging on their ability to keep customers safe, a survey from the industry bodies found.
Even more firms (77 per cent) believed the dire situation was set to get worse, with veteran bouncers lured into other roles such as festivals over the summer.
“We need government intervention to remedy the situation before we are potentially subject to another tragedy where lives are lost,” NTIA boss, Michael Kill, urged.
Some 57 per cent of all bosses surveyed thought that the quality of door security staff was ‘poor’, compared to less than a third only 31 per cent who thought that security staff were up to scratch.
““We are simply running out of time: the sector has been raising the alarm about security resource concerns for the last few years and we are only now slowly starting to engage with the government on this crisis,” Kill added.
One of the UK’s largest club operators, Rekom UK, was forced to limit numbers into venues due to security staff levels last autumn.
“It’s been a real struggle at times,” chief exec of the Pryzm and Atik operator said previously.
Waves of qualified staff have chosen not to return to the industry after the pandemic, in pursuit of more social hours, while many overseas workers also returned to their home countries after Brexit.
Last summer, a Home Office spokesperson told pub industry title The Morning Advertiser that it was the “responsibility of employers to take steps to make these roles attractive so as to encourage people to apply for these roles.”
Speaking ahead of ‘freedom day’ on 19 July, when clubs reopened after almost two years of Covid shutdowns, the Home Office said it appreciated that security firms and buyers “may be finding it challenging to recruit licence holders.”
Door staff in the UK must hold a licence from the Security Industry Authority (SIA), which requires a six-day training course that can cost hundreds of pounds.
It comes as women in the UK have expressed safety concerns amid a chain of reports of spiking last year.
A government spokesperson said: “The first priority of any government is to protect the public. We are committed to improving the security of public venues whilst recognising the need to properly consider the impacts and issues that this new legislation presents.”