Perhaps one of the greatest innovations and improvements within the Night Time Economy in recent decades has been the professionalisation of the Security Industry. Despite household names in the roadside vehicle recovery industry advertising to the contrary, the SIA have truly now become ‘The Fourth Emergency Service’. If they get it right, then the other three emergency services are not required.
The role of the SIA has been integral to the Licensed Trade by the effect of the Mandatory Conditions covering ALL licensed premises with an ON Licence.
☝️ Pull out your Premises Licence and look at the Mandatory Licensing Conditions in Part A. All recent Premises Licences carry a mandatory (i.e. ‘must do’) condition requiring that any door staff used at your premises are to be registered with the SIA. Therefore, a Designated Premises Supervisor or Premises Licence Holder may be prosecuted for breach of that mandatory condition in the event that unlicensed door supervisors are used.
Thus, the days of using any local ‘handy’ boys and girls you may know to ‘bounce’ events on your premises are very firmly over.
There are several things that you need to remember…
- The door staff work for YOU. Although they are usually strong characters (if they were not, they would not have gone in for this line of work!) you need to impress upon them regularly who is in charge. Although they may be employed by a security company whose services you buy in, in Licensing terms they actually work for you.
- Your door staff are the first and last impression that your customers get from your premises. For example, if they are dressed in black paramilitary uniform outside your premises and maintain an aloof distance from your customers with their arms constantly folded, they may not convey the message that you are a family-friendly venue!
- Maintain the work ethos that it is always better to ‘talk and walk’ a problem out of your premises than to ‘fight the good fight’. Consequently ‘going hands on’ should always be the final resort.
- Nothing upsets your customers more than the perception of unfairness or favouritism. That said, it is only human nature to hold an affinity for certain people in your personal and professional life. It is therefore essential to ensure that your procedures (such as searching, dress code and VIP policies) are transparent, written down, easily understood, well communicated and tactfully enforced by your Door Supervisors with consistency and scrupulous fairness.
- Remind your door staff that there are many vulnerable people in the Night Time Economy, and that they owe a Duty of Care to everyone that they come into contact with. It is NOT enough to treat everyone the same. You would not treat a person with a physical disability in the same way as an able-bodied person. You therefore require them to treat people according to their own individual needs.
- Your Duty of Care does not necessarily end at the door of your premises. You should impress upon your Door Staff that they should ensure that all the customers are safe and have a good time on your premises – and then get home safely afterwards.
☝️ Many towns and cities have fostered a healthy liaison between the SIA and the Street Pastor movement. Street Pastors are usually faith-based but have no interest in evangelising their religion upon anyone. Instead they simply ensure that people who are vulnerable in the Night Time Economy are properly cared for and get home safely. Please make contact with them and foster a great relationship with them.
- Policing’ the Public Space is another area for consideration. Agree with your Door Staff exactly how far, geographically, they will operate from your premises as part of your Dispersal Policy. This may involve a conversation with your Local Policing Team about partnership-working.
- You must keep a log of the door supervisors names and badge numbers and check these against the SIA register that can be found online to verify their badges are in date, genuine and the operative is allowed to work.
✅ You can download a templated Dispersal Policy from the TLG Vault for free.
There now follows a breakdown of the types of SIA Licence available and the level of Licence you will need to operate lawfully at your premises…