Door Supervision in 2019 By Gina Lawrence

As I stood there, the roar of the crowded venue behind me, I looked at my colleague. Small, struggling to communicate in English, a bulky bullet proof vest under his black jumper and visibly shaking with fright…… Not only did his personality not match the job role, but furthermore, how was he going to protect the public or myself if required? I did not feel safe and he was, quite literally, a standing target. I spent most of the night protecting him. Was this fair on the gentleman in question? The venue we were there to protect? Myself? The answer is no – my question to you is this, what is the point of having numbers on the doors, if half the numbers are not suited to the job at hand? As a security manager, I am proud to stand beside all of my brothers and sisters in black – regardless of rank, race, religion or sexual orientation. The role we chose as our career choice is not without risk, our characters must be strong, versatile and our communication skills are paramount yet in my experience, I have been teamed with opposites of these characteristics.

We all know the type that believes that they are superheroes, can take on anyone…”I jumped through a burning building, fought twenty blokes and rescued a couple kids.”…Sure you did, Rambo. Yet typically, they are the first to disappear, in my experience. Violence only breeds more violence, words generally speak louder than actions, and I pride myself on rarely having to result to force to protect those I am employed to protect. So if you’ve joined the industry purely to “fight and act tough” then you need to get out of it. This is a profession to be proud of, not Thugs’R’us.

Now, do not get me wrong, I’m not the greatest Door Supervisor, nor is it my full time branch of security. It’s purely something that I enjoy doing from time to time and I have worked the doors for several years across the UK. Security in general is my passion, something that lights a fire in me. So yes, I may have high standards as a manager, however if I see that spark in you, I will always have your back, guide and train you to reach your full potential. Which is probably more that you think! Titles are absolutely meaningless. Integrity, honesty….. they are the ones that make you something special. Each one of us has the capability to make a difference. As a Door Supervisor, you have a duty of care to those in your venue, including the bar team and your own. You should never take unnecessary risks or anything that could put your team in danger. Remember the reason that we are there in the first place. If I hear the statement “We are only here due to insurance”, I may actually flip. Some companies, may in fact be doing that, however stop devaluing yourself, you’re more than that. It is our job to show people our worth.

My first experience on doors, I saw a woman get her eye ripped out with a stiletto heel by another woman. It was……well, an eye opener. I was lucky that my first Head Doorman was a decent man and he taught me the ropes. Although, even after all this time, I am still learning. It is important to remember that every shift is different, so do not take things for granted. It is always tricky to learn what your venue is like, however I would suggest getting to know it, inside and out. When you first arrive at a venue or indeed any site, it is paramount to first seek out the manager looking after the event. Communication is what builds a trusting relationship. Without that trust, you have nothing, which will open up all varieties of problems in the future. And I do not mean the fact that some DS have no idea how to use a radio…do not even get me started. Once you have built a report with that manager, they shall tell what they are looking for, however also be aware that you are trained in security, and that they are not (Again, do not get me started). So do your internal and external perimeter checks. Protect this property like it was your home.

There are many things that DS and general security officers do, that they keep to themselves and most definitely try to hide from their managers. A fact that I have always found amusing, given that I will most probably have done them myself! We are still humans you know. Well most of us. Of course there are parts of a DS’s role that are dangerous, restraining people that are generally under the influence, whether that is alcohol or drugs, so their common sense has flown right out of the window. Throughout my career I have been spat on, punched, slapped, kneed, ran over with a car, threatened with needles, guns, knives, screwdrivers. I even had one man threaten to slash his wrists and spray me with his AID blood. One particular time I had to deal with a drug dealer, she had so many different concoctions in her bag, that when I had no choice but to get physical, I ended up in hospital due to the amount of drug fumes that I had inhaled. I was bed ridden for several days. Another time, one of my team officers had been bitten, the skin had been broken, and so I had to take him to hospital. I sat with him all night in A&E as he went through his tests. He had to wait two weeks to see whether he had been infected with HIV, luckily he had not. I can only imagine that must have been a terrifying experience for him.

I think that is what frustrates me; people have this assumption of Door supervisors that needs to change. We face so much for so little pay. We risk our lives, not only on the doors but away from work. As some, who we may have had to deal with, find us on social media. I’ve had to change facebook accounts, twitter, etc. Now I keep my family on a private forum so nobody can reach out to them. The risks involved extend to so much more than a shift, and although some DS may not be the standard that I would desire, they are most definitely worthy of respect.

Gina Lawrence

Gina Lawrence

Gina is an Operational Security Manager originally from Yorkshire. She moved south in order to pursue her dreams. She is also a published author in the Fantasy/Supernatural/History genres. With a firm grounding in several front line security roles, she has risen to excel in numerous operational management positions over the last few years