There is a shortage of bouncers – and nightclub bosses fear it endangers public safety

There is a shortage of bouncers – and nightclub bosses fear it endangers public safety

The nightclub industry has become the latest to be hit by the UK’s supply crisis – with bosses calling for urgent government action amid a shortage of bouncers.

Industry executives have warned that the problem could become a “threat to public safety” as some sites struggle to find security personnel.

The number of security workers has run out as many have left the industry while clubs have been closed throughout the pandemic for jobs with preferable hours, while the departure of workers from the EU has also compounded the problem.

The NTIA said last month that one in five nightlife and hospitality businesses have closed or reduced their hours of operation due to a shortage of security personnel.

However, he said the situation had “deteriorated further” as demand continued to soar from customers keen to enjoy a night out after the lockdown was eased.

The bosses of nightclub operator Rekom UK and the Revolution bar chain said the shortage was an urgent concern.

Peter Marks, managing director of Rekom UK, a 42-site company, which operates brands such as Pryzm and Atik, said the problem “was slowly developing but had gotten so much worse since the pandemic”.

He said: “It has been a real struggle at times, but luckily we have often been able to push back the security agencies to find the teams we need just in time.

“But even then, on a couple of occasions, we had to limit the number of sites because of the security levels.

“We are, however, in a particularly strong position as we can accept to hire more staff – this hits independent clubs particularly hard. “

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Former BoE Governor: UK ‘supply shocks’ caused by COVID and Brexit

Mr Marks added that the shortage has led to an increase in personnel costs as companies face a litany of other cost increases such as higher energy bills and a rebound in VAT levels.

He said: “I think the cost has increased by about 15%.

“But it’s a little different everywhere. In a place like Dartford where we’re the only club it might not be that much, but in big cities like Nottingham it gets very competitive trying to secure these staff. “

Mr Marks said the issue arose amid “roaring commerce” as people return to clubs for the first time since before the pandemic.

The NTIA stressed that security personnel at the sites are “essential for public safety” as it called for government action.

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Why are there supply shortages in the UK?

Michael Kill, chief executive of the professional body, said: “If the shortages continue to worsen, there is a good chance that it will become a threat to public safety.

“As in other sectors currently experiencing shortages, this is a long-term problem and the decline in security resources can be traced over at least three years, but it has been greatly exacerbated by the pandemic, de many authorized employees leaving the area when bars and clubs closed and now choose not to return.

“Brexit hasn’t helped either, but it’s far from the only factor at play here.

“The government can take steps to alleviate the problem, whether it’s 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 appease the crisis. “

Rob Pitcher, chief executive of Revolution Bars, also told PA that the group saw a “particular problem” when hiring security personnel for the venues.


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