A huge decline in the number of security personnel available to work on events is risking public safety, according to the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA).
The organisation said that since it conducted a survey “a few months ago” that found that security resource in the sector was at 70%, the situation had deteriorated further.
The issue has impacted festivals. Parklife (cap. 80,000) festival founder Sacha Lord told the Guardian that it has been difficult to find 1,000 security staff to cover the Manchester event last month.
“We have always taken it for granted that you can send an email to three or four security providers and get our 900-1,000 security staff,” Lord said. “But this year we had to beg, borrow and steal from all over the country. We had to bus them in from north Scotland, Devon and all over.”
NTIA CEO Michael Kill said the shortage of door security staff is becoming critical: “Whether it is through acting as a first line of defence against a terrorist attack, or intervening to break up violent incidents, licensed security staff are fundamental to public safety. The current shortages are beginning to put the public in real jeopardy.”
“Like in other sectors currently seeing shortages, this is a long term issue and decline in security resources can be tracked back at least three years, but this has been hugely exacerbated by the pandemic with many licensed staff leaving the sector when the bars and clubs closed and now choosing not to return. Brexit hasn’t helped either, but it is far from the only factor at play here”
Kill called on the Government to take measures to ease the problem, including funding training initiatives, streamlining new training requirements and to tackle shortages through legislation: “I would also like to see them revisit the issue of temporary visas to assuage the crisis. Government must come to the table and look at these solutions we are putting forward as sector – this is a serious problem, which, if left alone, may lead to a tragedy.”