The reputation and actions of Nottingham’s doormen has been under some intense scrutiny over recent months, with videos from outside city bars and clubs seemingly showing them being violent and aggressive.

According to law, doormen can use ‘reasonable force’ in order to carry out their job, which in this case is to protect the premises and keep people in those premises safe. Nonetheless, Criminal Lawyer Andrew Cash warns that they have to be careful with their actions.

Bouncers only have the power to use ‘reasonable force’ to protect premises.

“The first thing a doorman needs to do if he or she is employed on the doors of a premises is to work out what that [venue’s] admission policy is and what their rules are”.

“If [people] misbehave inside, they have the power, as any householder would, to evict them”.

“The doorman’s only right is to use reasonable force, either to protect the property, themselves or somebody else, and if they aren’t doing that then they are committing criminal offences”.

“They’ve got to be very, very careful”

Andrew Cash, Criminal Lawyer

Despite the videos causing concern, the ability for doormen to work is very tightly monitored. Should a doorman become the subject of a complaint, the consequences can be dear. All doormen must hold a badge from the Security Industry Authority, which requires background checks, and complaints could potentially leave them unable to work.

“If a doorman is accused, for example, of an assault on someone, even if they’re not convicted, the Security Industry Authority who look at it all will be concerned and can take the badge away”.

“They’ve got to be very, very careful and it’s a strictly regulated area”.

A doorman cannot work without being given a badge by the Security Industry Authority

In cases where a doorman feels a situation is becoming uncontrollable, they are advised to call the police who will visit the venue and assess the situation. Andrew has seen in recent cases that when police are called, CCTV is a first port of call, agreeing that this is the strongest evidence available.

“One of the huge changes that’s happened now is that most of our clubs, half of our town, is covered by CCTV so the starting point will be to look at that hard evidence and close circuit television evidence is often the very best evidence”.

CCTV is the very best evidence for the police to investigate what has happened.

“Often these days the CCTV will determine what’s happened, it will at least leave police with the need to seek an explanation from the person who was carrying out the act”.

However, doormen are not alone in being advised to be careful of their actions. Those who visit clubs and bars must also think about how they act both within the club and towards the doormen themselves according to Andrew.

  • Doormen are advised to use minimum force, if any at all.
  • Their only right is to use ‘reasonable force’.
  • They are required to wear a badge from the SIA, who can take away this badge and stop a doorman from working.
  • They must know and uphold a club’s admission policy and rules.

“If you’re in somebody else’s house, you do what you’re told. If you’re asked to leave, leave. Don’t be aggressive…and doorman have to work the same rules.”

“They’re told minimum force if any at all, they’re not allowed to carry weapons, they have to be polite and generally caring for the people they’re looking after because that’s what they’re there for.”