It is a job where violence is never too far away.
According to one Door Supervisor, working on the doors in Newcastle city centre can be as violent as it gets.
“There is almost always trouble,” said the Door Supervisor who asked not to be named.
He claims the trouble is fuelled by either booze or the increasing use of Class A drugs.
“I think people would be surprised by just how many drugs are out there on a night out,” he said.
“If you spent an hour in the toilet, you would catch at least 10 people doing cocaine.”
The Door Supervisor, who has worked for venues across the North East, said part of his job is to stop drugs coming into the bars and to identify those dealing inside.
He claims drugs are being sold in smaller batches – a strategy which makes them more affordable.
And he believes this encourages teenagers and students to try the illegal substances.
“We are finding it on more and more teenagers,” the Door Supervisor said.
“I can’t think of a possible shift where you wouldn’t confiscate something from someone.
“Another thing I’m seeing more and more of is weapons, and even stuff like CS gas.
“People are able to buy it for about £10 online and it is scary what people come armed with these days.”
Despite claims gas is becoming more frequent in nightclubs, police say it isn’t a trend they are seeing in the city.
“Our reports do not show an increase in the number of individuals in possession of CS spray in the city centre, or a trend of individuals carrying it in the night time economy,” said Newcastle city centre Chief Inspector Steve Wyke.
“If people are carrying this spray then it should be reported to police as they are committing a criminal offence.”
The Door Supervisor said security don’t always report everything to the police.
He said it is often quicker – and less hassle – to just dispose of the contraband and eject the culprit.
But often ejection can lead to violence.
For a Door Supervisor, defusing a punch-up is part of the job.
However, having worked all over Newcastle, he claims violence often unfolds where you’d least expect it.
“When you go right into the city centre, you find the customers a lot of the time are quite jovial,” he said.
“If there is any trouble, you often find because they only want a few drinks before moving on, you don’t have a lot of backlash in trying to get them out and away from the scene.
“It is when you move further away from the centre, the pubs where people go week in, week out.
“These places have a regular customer base, and what makes it harder is often these people are there all night and eventually there is a flashpoint between them. They are regulars though, so they are harder to get to go and not as happy to just move on.”
Once vilified as bullies and thugs, modern Door Supervisors are a breed apart from the doormen of yesteryear.
The Door Supervisor said communication is key in potentially hostile environments where their limits are frequently tested.
The threat of violence often means doorstaff need to be ready if trouble erupts.
“A lot of the time it is the people who are visiting who cause the trouble,” the Door Supervisor said.
“They lose their inhibitions and they are going out with their party heads on rather than just for a drink.
“Because they are away from home they know that they won’t get recognised if there is any bother by their workmates.
“A lot of the time it is also just people pushing the boundaries, and with the binge drinking mentality and the frivolous use of cocaine, it is harder and harder to keep a cap on it.”
Inspector Wykes insists staffing levels haven’t changed, while other tactics – namely CCTV and undercover officers – are used to help police the city at night.
“We have a fantastic relationship with door staff across Newcastle and they have been really important in making the city centre such a safe place,” he added.
“Many of them have engaged in vulnerability training to help safeguard partygoers and have great links in to police to report when any criminal offences have taken place.
“I won’t pretend that police resourcing isn’t a challenge but I want to make it clear that we have not reduced the number of officers who police our busy city centres and still have a highly visible presence across the city to keep people safe both during the day and in the evenings.
“It is impossible for us to have an officer on every street corner but our response to incidents is very quick and we have extensive CCTV coverage of the city.
“We have widely publicised our Operation Cloak scheme that sees plain clothed officers deployed across the night-time economy so we will not always be in uniform.
“We have also been very proactive when it comes to drug use in bars and nightclubs but I must stress that this isn’t a new problem, nor is it something that is exclusive to Newcastle.
“There have been a number of high profile court cases that show we take a zero-tolerance to drug dealing in the city centre and the robust response will continue.”
Source – Chronicle live