I have been deliberating whether to write about this lot for some time now, for many reasons. Most of which is due to the dozens of issues they have caused within an industry they promised so much for and have weakened and destroyed from the off. I actually had most of what I thought was a full article written but have decided to start afresh.
However, seeing as there is so much content in my view, my girl suggested I write this as a series of articles, this being the first....obviously.
Although not directly linked to self protection and combative arts or even marital aids, as a few of the guys/girls in the security industry train in this area it will be of interest to some - perhaps. When I say “some” I should perhaps clarify this as being with reference to the “old school” types that recognised some form of physical training might be of use and still do; unlike the muppets that are churned out regularly, proudly sporting that little blue badge they believe makes them capable in all departments.
The Security Industry Authority regulations and licensing practises were initially implicated approximately 7-8 years ago, (no, I cannot be bothered researching every single date etc). Basically this was introduced, supposedly, to stop all those terrible nasty bullying and scary bouncers from working as security personnel on predominantly licensed premises, but within all aspects of the industry itself. Something that was inevitable and required in some form or another for sure. Nobody in the business for any length of time could deny, with a straight face, that there were some elements in the industry that were doing more harm than good.
It's just a great shame that the all or nothing approach the SIA decided to take when deciding who is or isn't fit to work in the industry in any capacity seems to be equally as set in concrete with regards objectivity and a touch of common sense to every applicant that passes their utterly farcical exam.
It used to be the case that to even be considered for any door team you had to put in some graft and prove your worth and ability in front of others that had successfully done the same before you. A bit like many other jobs, but given the nature of licensed premise security and some of the undoubtedly difficult situations that can and often do arise within this sector, then isn't it just a touch irresponsible to allow anyone that can tick a few boxes in some laughable multiple choice exam paper to then register and pass them as fit for purpose?
The “exam” itself is nothing short of a complete insult to those that have spent a few years risking their health and sometimes freedom to ensure the very types that set these questions have a safe night in their chosen venue. As a quick example, here is one of the questions that will live with me as long as my a**e points south. It's not word for word but you will get the general idea....
A head doorman needs to display which of the following qualities?
A: Have bigger muscles than anyone else?
B: Prove he is the toughest?
C: Must be physically bigger and more aggressive than the other doormen?
D: Must be a firm leader and have good communication skills?
Again, not word for word but that was the general gist of it, nothing short of insulting really. But it's certainly an eye opener into how much of a grasp the powers that be have of what working a pub or club door requires, and a good indicator of what they perceive the average doorman’s mindset must be.......ahem, yes of course.
The door supervisor course lasts 4 days and with an “exam” at the end. If you pass the exam you then get the paperwork to prove this and you’re deemed able to do the job. A Criminal Record Check and as long as you’re whiter than white and have been for many years you will get that lovely little blue badge. I'll go into the hypocrisy of the CRB check in the near future, but now back to the exam.
How anyone with an IQ in double figures could fail this “exam” I simply do not know. I completed and checked mine twice in less than 5 minutes, aren't I the clever one. However some of the ones that pass do indeed puzzle me, the reason being, they barely speak a word of the Queens English.
There was a guy sat next to me sitting his exam with me, in fact he had been on the entire course with me. The poor chap was deaf and dumb, completely illiterate and scared of his own shadow...and this guy had been put forward by his social worker to get funding and become a doorman. No surprises, he passed and got his badge. How does this guy talk to customers? How does this chap listen to certain peoples grievances? How does he knock anyone back? How does he explain his actions? How does he hear the radio or respond to a shout on this radio? How does he give a statement to the cops? It's never ending!
And don't forget that the guy was as timid and shy as you could imagine, and this guy is a frontline operative! He's a liability, but then so are the bulk of the individuals the SIA churn out nonstop. Believe it or not I ended up working with this guy; he stood staring at his feet the entire shift. When the buzzer went off he was completely oblivious, so obviously I had to deal with it (not that I would have trusted him to deal with anything more challenging than adjusting his hearing aids). Thankfully it was nothing serious, but if it had been I’m pretty sure that buzzer would have burnt out and he would have been standing there staring at his shoes with his thumb up his a**e. I asked the boss why on earth he had been given a job and he basically said that he and his social worker had come into the interview and gave the minorities speech etc. In reality he had to give him a job, oh how we laughed......
This is just one in literally countless examples of totally unfit individuals being registered as fit and able to do the job as long as they pass this exam. For example, the guy that almost started crying when I had to front kick someone that ran at me, or the guy that phoned his mum to come and collect him because someone stuck the nut on him and many many others just as jaw dropping.
An overwhelming portion of the individuals that are given their SIA badge should never, and could never actually do the job effectively in any shape or form. That doesn't mean they are not nice guys/girls it's just that they aren't cut out to provide SECURITY services for licensed premises, and this all important 4 day course and laughable multiple choice exam is telling them they are and giving them the ability to do so.
Doubtless there are a few people saying that the answer is just to employ the ones that are capable? The hard fact is there are less and less good guys/girls to choose from for several reasons, not least the fact that they don't want to risk their health working with one of these jacket filling plant pots! It's approximately £500 to apply and get your SIA badge, that's a lot of money for lads that only do the job for extra cash or full time. And that's if they get their badge granted due to that common assault charge they picked up 6 years ago defending themselves on the door from a group of pissed up scumbags they didn’t want in in the first place.
And I haven’t even started on the breweries paying for managers and charge hands to get their SIA badges, as this saves them from having to pay a security company to fulfil that pesky legal requirement. But that and related issues are for next time......