Security staff shortages 'accident waiting to happen'

By Emily Hawkins

- Last updated on GMT

Freedom day: night time economy bosses have warned the Prime Minister of chaos amid door security shortages (image: Getty/iunderhill2)
Freedom day: night time economy bosses have warned the Prime Minister of chaos amid door security shortages (image: Getty/iunderhill2)

Related tags Security Night time economy lockdown Health and safety Nightclub Home office

A shortage of door staff runs the risk of endangering revellers on their first night out in over a year when clubs reopen, according to night-time economy bosses.

Leaders representing more than 10,000 late night businesses have written an open letter to the Prime Minister to intervene with "catastrophic" door security shortages.

Late-night employers have warned of safety risks ahead of ‘freedom day’ on Monday 19 July, when many clubs are planning to reopen just after midnight.

Six in 10 door supervisor positions are at risk of being unfilled as a result of the lockdown leading staff to seek other careers, according to the UK Door Security Association. 

Signatories of an open letter - including Stonegate and JD Wetherspoon - have urged the Prime Minister to call an urgent meeting to discuss the problem.

The letter calls for measures including funding training incentives, streamlining training requirements and tackling shortages through legislation.

Ticking time-bomb

“Security shortages may well be the coup de grace for our industry; for the public, they’re an accident waiting to happen,” Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night-Time Industries Association said.

“The Home Office has wilfully ignored a ticking time-bomb that will compromise public safety and our sector’s ability to recover from a time of devastation,” Kill added.

A ‘protect duty’ consultation by the Home Office closed this month (July) and now bosses have called on ministers to put the consultation into action with intervention measures.

Ministers have previously brushed off the sector’s concerns ​by pointing to “record numbers” of door supervisors on the register of license holders but bosses said this was not representative of how many staff are actually working in the sector.

Unmanageable shortages

"As security and night time economy businesses, we can assure you that what we are seeing on the ‘front lines’ is an alarming shortage of qualified public safety staff," the letter claims. "These are already becoming unmanageable and threaten to become catastrophic."

Simon Longbottom, CEO of the Stonegate Group, which has operates more than 4,500 late night venues, said the role of security staff in keeping customers safe “should not be underestimated.”

He added: “It is extremely concerning the Government appears to lack an understanding of this gravity just days away from the full reopening of nightlife. If the Prime Minister really wants us to drive the UK’s economic recovery, we must have the required security resources in place to do so.”

Responsibility of employers 

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We’ve implemented an unprecedented package of measures to support businesses during the pandemic and our Plan for Jobs is helping people across the country retrain, build new skills and get back into work.

“We appreciate that, like other sectors of the economy that recruit lower wage roles, security companies and buyers may be finding it challenging to recruit licence holders. 

"However, we believe that it is the responsibility of employers to take steps to make these roles attractive so as to encourage people to apply for these roles.”

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