This article from The Daily Telegraph caught my attention this morning.
I’m sure many of you have had run-ins with bouncers before. Shit, Slim Pickins can’t get in anywhere after 3 beers because he gets the “drunk eyes”.
But how many of you have started a fight with one?
You wouldn’t be stupid enough, would you?
Now, I’m a manager at a hotel just out of Sydney. It has a family-friendly atmosphere with a large bistro, lounge area and a few nice courtyards to relax in. It’s nothing like Kings Cross – we don’t have a nightclub, we don’t charge for entry and we have to actually be nice to our patrons and make them feel welcome. But, we still have security on our busier nights because where there is alcohol there is trouble.
Recently we had a security guard posted to our venue through the company we use. He came from a few Kings Cross nightclubs and seemed like a decent guy – friendly and talkative.
One Saturday afternoon a small group of locals were in having a few drinks in the lounge area. They had 3 drinks and one of the couples was making out – probably not the best look considering it’s just next to the restaurant – so all that needed to happen was to ask them to tone it down and explain to them that they’re right next to the restaurant and there would be kids around etc – it’s not a big deal and there would have been no problem.
Instead, what happened was Mr. Kings Cross went over to them, cut the girl off (who had only had 3 drinks) and tried to confiscate the drink infront of her and tell her to leave. Obviously she was a little offended, they were quite good customers of ours and had never caused any trouble and she was clearly not too intoxicated. There was lucky to be 40 people in the entire hotel at the time and the majority of them were out in the other end.
It didn’t matter to security though, when she wouldn’t get up to leave he stood over her (he’s about 120kg) pointing at her and then the door and yelling for her to “step outside”. When her boyfriend tried to intervene and tell him to back off, he too was invited to sort it out outside.
Needless to say, he didn’t last long at our venue and is probably much happier back in Kings Cross now where he can get away with “smashing people” because he “doesn’t give a shit” and he could “lose his license” for all he cares – his words, not mine.
Which brings me to another incident involving my best mate. I wasn’t there for this one but heard about it all afterwards. He was out watching a few bands one night with another mate of ours and ended up quite drunk. He wasn’t doing anything, just standing there watching the band (and probably spilling beer down his arm without realising it) and a bouncer came over and told him he had to leave. He knew he was too drunk to be there, so didn’t argue it and simply walked out the door. He stood on the footpath out the front waiting for his mate to finish his drink as he was driving him home.
The bouncer asked him to move on and he tried explaining to him that he was just waiting for his lift home.
The bouncer kept telling him to leave and he said something to the effect of “I am dude, that guy right there is driving me” and took a step towards the door to point at his designated driver, when the bouncer punched him in the face. He was doing nothing wrong – it is deemed a reasonable excuse as per the Liquor Act to remain in the vincinity of the premises to obtain transport – that is all he was doing and he got punched in the face for it.
Police ignored his complaint, probably because he was visibly intoxicated and they automatically sided with the security staff.
I’ve similarly seen several bouncers chase people down the street and proceed to kick and punch them while they lay on the ground.
I know that sometimes a little more force is needed to resolve a situation. But I also know that a lot of the time with security staff, they make things much worse than they need to be in the way they treat patrons.
Most of them are simply on a power trip.
It’s almost childish. If a patron doesn’t listen to them, they resort to physical violence because they know that the majority of the time the law will side with them (after all – they are the sober ones, and it MUST be the patrons fault if an argument erupts) and they are almost certainly going to win any sort of physical confrontation because their 8 other gorilla-sized buddies will jump in to help kick the “trouble makers” head in.
The OLGR and the NSW Police need to look a little further than simply blaming any incident on a licensed premises as “alcohol fueled violence” and work together with licensed venues to bring about a complete overhaul to security licensing in NSW to make regulation and control of licensed venues more effective. Bring back some responsibility for patrons and security staff. Hold patrons AND security staff accountable when they are out of line, not just the patrons.
Security staff are supposed to be mediators. They are there to prevent violence should they anticipate it. They are there to promote a friendly and safe environment for patrons and staff alike.
They need people skills, respect and decency and to understand that they are not the law and they aren’t the god that they seem to think they are.
They aren’t there to be thugs and throw punches.
And they certainly shouldn’t ever chase people off the premises and down the street and continue to assault them.
Acts like that are a disgrace.
They, along with anyone else who commits an act like that, should be sentenced to a lengthy stay in prison. I hope, for the family involved in the article mentioned above, that they are found guilty and that they do face lengthy stays in prison. An innocent man has lost his life because a fat piece of shit guarding a door felt tough in the company of his mates. They should be fucking shot.