Contrary to the way action films portray bouncers, professional club security is about avoiding conflict, not engaging in it. High-quality security people are level-headed, perceptive, and very good at sensing and defusing conflict situations before they escalate. Nightclubs are frequently filled with sexual tension and intoxicated people, and they require experienced professionals to keep things under control.
The first security personnel that the customer comes into contact with is the doorman. Doormen are responsible for checking IDs to confirm that everyone entering the club is of legal age, barring entry to intoxicated people and people who are known to have caused trouble in the past, and maintaining a calm and ordered atmosphere in the street outside of the club. The doorman can make a crucial contribution to the security of the club by keeping out people who might cause problems, thus saving the inside staff the trouble of dealing with them. Doormen need to be good judges of character and very tactful in their dealings with people.
Bouncers, also called floor men, patrol the bar and the dance floor to keep an eye on things. Their job is to sense trouble developing before it gets out of hand, and to take steps to defuse it. This may mean having a word with an unruly customer, cutting off alcohol to someone who is becoming excessively drunk, or heading off a conflict between two patrons.
According to security expert Chris E. McGoey, the visible presence of a competent and confident bouncer will stop most trouble before it starts. It is helpful for club staff to be dressed so they are recognisable as employees, although security-guard style uniforms are not appropriate for a nightclub setting. Many people who cause trouble are reacting to the sense of an uncontrolled environment, and if they perceive from the moment they enter the club that things are under control, trouble is less likely to start.
Club security jobs require training in first aid, conflict resolution and self defence. While physical confrontation is relatively rare, security people should be prepared for it. The confidence that comes from being trained for physical confrontation can often make it less likely to occur. Security people should be good judges of character, not easily insulted, and comfortable around other people. A sense of humour is also useful in keeping the atmosphere relaxed and enjoyable for both customers and staff.
When all other methods fail, it is sometimes necessary to eject unruly customers. Unlike the movies, this does not involve hurling them onto the sidewalk where they land in a puddle. Violation of nightclub rules is not a crime, and bouncers have no legal right to manhandle a customer. If troublemakers refuse to leave when told to, they are then trespassing, and nightclub staff must call police, who will then take over the situation.
Job prospects and salary
According to the National Careers Service, door supervisors earn between £8 and £13 per hour, and the numbers employed in the "Misc services" category are expected to increase until at least 2020. To fill this role, you must be of legal age to work in a nightclub, which is 18 or over.