Working in nightclub security: 7 tips you need to know
There are lots of interesting places people work as security officers and guards and probably one of the most well-known, is the nightclub. Australians love a good night out, and publicans and venue owners have a responsibility to their patrons to keep them safe, and to allow everyone to have a good time.
Also known as bouncers or doormen, security officers and guards may work in the venue, outside the venue and may help with crowd control, patrolling or checking the legal age of patrons. They might also refuse entry for intoxication, aggressive behaviour or non-compliance with statutory or establishment rules. Here are 7 tips you need to know about working in nightclub security.
Nightclub security tip #1: Proper training is crucial
Point number 1 is really the most important. To work as a security guard anywhere in Australia, you need a security license gained at a reputable training organisation. This is to ensure that you’re trained properly and given the support to succeed in your role.
Security Guard Training HQ points out that, “Proper training is the most crucial aspect of this job. It is more than muscles and mean looks. A nightclub security officer must be properly trained to handle any situation they may encounter. Poorly trained security personnel can take a bad situation to worse and quickly.”
“Training is also important in order to understand legal boundaries when on the job. There are many fine lines that cannot be crossed when it comes to being a nightclub security officer.” That’s why proper training is highly recommended.
Nightclub security tip #2: Learn to manage obnoxious patrons
It may seem obvious but working in a nightclub you will come across intoxicated people and troublemakers. In many cases, it’s your job to identify and control them.
Crime Doctor says, “Contact with an obnoxious customer should begin at the first sign of trouble. (Security staff and) bouncers should issue early, friendly warnings. Once warned, all club employees should be trained to collectively keep an eye on the patron and issue second reminder warnings, if appropriate. Most customers will respond to this approach.” Go back to your training to help you deal with these types of people.
Nightclub security tip #3: Learn to recognise when a patron is intoxicated
Liquor and Gaming NSW has a useful resource available which provides a comprehensive list of dozens of signs that someone is affected by alcohol. See Intoxicated Guidelines for information on behaviours, speech, coordination and balance.
Remember that a degree of judgement is required in determining whether a person is intoxicated, or approaching the point of becoming intoxicated. In exercising that judgement, the Guide says, “other factors should also be considered, such as the amount and types of alcohol served to a patron. Care must be taken to establish if there are other causes, such as a medical condition or disability.” These are all things to consider when working in nightclub security.
Nightclub security tip #4: Supplying liquor to a minor will get you fired (and possibly a large fine)
Even if you never serve at the bar as a security guard, you still need to be aware of the possibility of minors attempting to enter the premises and purchase alcohol. Recently in Manly NSW recently, the iconic Hotel Steyne was shut for a week after Liquor and Gaming NSW suspended the pub’s liquor licence after four underage girls were caught drinking there by police patrolling the venue.
The owner of the business mentioned that this would cost the venue about 100K in lost takings and that several jobs were on the line because of the error. Put simply, as a security guard, underage drinking should be something you need to be hyperaware of, as this can compromise a venue’s license.
Nightclub security tip #5: Rely on the support of your team
You probably will not be working alone, but as part of a team, rely on your teammates and support them. Wiki How says, “Learn from your team members and earn your co-workers' respect. This is the most important thing to remember - respect means everything.”
Security staff should act like a cohesive unit. “To work effectively on a team, members need to know their role and the overall project objective. Then, they can analyse situations that arise, diagnose the problem, and propose solutions that help the collective team work more effectively towards reaching the goal,” according to Tara Duggan of Demand Media, a small business network.
Nightclub security tip #6: Beware of stereotypes
Security Guard Training HQ points out that, “Nightclub security guards often have a stereotype placed upon them. Many believe that all nightclub security guards and bouncers are all muscle-bound rejects from some other venture.”
These days, there are many different types of guards, including nearly 20% of the workforce being made up of women, and plenty of workers aged 50+. Don’t let the stereotypes of the profession be a barrier to getting a job in a nightclub. These days, no one expects you to be enormous. Sometimes brains trump brawn in the nightclub game.
Nightclub security tip #7: You may have to eject a patron
The correct way to eject or escort a patron away from a nightclub premises would be covered in your training. Crime Doctor says, “Escorting a patron out of a nightclub involves the use of professional verbal commands and a polite explanation of why they are being asked to leave. If a patron has been dutifully warned previously, then it will be of no surprise.”
That’s not to say you won’t encounter any issues, so refer to your training. “If the conduct of the patron was obviously inappropriate,” explains Crime Doctor, “then it should be clear why they are being escorted out.”