Bouncer shortages in the UK might pose a "threat to public safety," according to the Night Time Industry Association (NTIA).
Members of the organisation believe that staffing levels are 70% below what they used to be in a pre-pandemic world, attributing the shortage to a mix of "staff resigning during the pandemic, Brexit, and a labour shortage of EU workers".
The increase in workload for door staff is around 30%, according to Tom Robinson, a bouncer and owner of ESP Security Solutions, who spoke to the BBC about this issue. He stated he is "not confident" that his company would be able to handle the increase.
"If we don't have the staff, the venues won't be able to open - it says on the licence given to venues how many staff they need to open safely, if they have got them they need to shut. Public safety is paramount."
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One in five nightlife businesses are believed to have closed or cut hours because they can’t get security staff, the BBC reports.
The NTIA has called on the government to do more through "funding training initiatives, streamlining new training requirements, or tackling shortages through legislation".
The organisation has suggested temporary visas for EU workers to come and fill empty roles.
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"[The] government must come to the table and look at these solutions we are putting forward as a sector - this is a serious problem, which, if left alone, may lead to a tragedy."
Speaking on the matter, Michael Kill - CEO of NTIA says:
“Door security staff shortages in the night time 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%, and I am afraid that the situation has only deteriorated further since then.”
“Like in other sectors currently seeing shortages, this is a long term issue and decline in security resources can be traced back at least three years, but this has been hugely exacerbated by the pandemic with many licensed staff leaving the sector when the bars and clubs closed and now choosing not to return. Brexit hasn’t helped either, but it is far from the only factor at play here"
“There are steps the government can take to ease the problem, whether that be funding training initiatives, streamlining new training requirements, or tackling shortages through legislation – and I would also like to see them revisit the issue of temporary visas to assuage the crisis. [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.”
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Aneesa Ahmed is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter