Monday, August 29, 2005

Security Personnel

Night Club Security Personnel

Once again, security personnel must utilize the written policies, and goals of the establishment. They must keep them in mind when dealing with problems that may arise. A rogue security employee will cost an establishment thousands, if not millions, of dollars during the lifetime of the establishment.

As stated earlier, security should always have on proper attire. Without it, persons involved in problems may believe that security is just another patron getting involved. The proper attire for a security uniform is bright, distinguishing colors. A patron’s belief of safety comes from a visual presence of security. According to our survey’s, patrons visualizing security feel more comfortable in a nightclub or a bar.

Always make sure your place of business is in compliance with the State and Federal fire codes. In addition, such information should be displayed prominently throughout the establishment. Security personnel MUST know where the fire exits are located throughout the establishment. Fire exits must never be blocked in any way. Security in designated areas should be aware of patrons opening exit doors. THIS SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED. This is often done by patrons to allow other persons who were not properly admitted to enter the bar. This could also be done because a patron needs some fresh air or feels sick. If this is the case, the patrons should be directed to the proper exit. If the exit door is opened for a special reason, or for establishment purposes, all staff should be advised and the open door should be monitored by a security person assigned to that designated area. After the summer of 2002, we all know the deadly effects that a fire can have on a popular drinking establishment.

Each security person should be designated a position during their shift, i.e., a certain area or job. Some positions should be roaming, some stationary. These positions should often be switched, as this prevents a security person from becoming too comfortable with certain patrons in their area and becoming complacent in their designated area. If the security personnel are new to an assigned position, such as the front door, they should be shadowed by an experienced security person. This should be done until the trainee feels comfortable with their new position.

1 If possible, station security in a way that allows them to face the crowd with their backs to the wall. This provides full frontal vision and does not allow for anything to happen behind the security person. Elevation boxes should be used only when no other vantage point for visibility is available. If elevation boxes are used, only security should be allowed on these boxes. NO patrons should be allowed on top of these elevation boxes for ANY reason. ABSOLUTELY NO CHAIRS should be placed on top of the boxes for security to sit on.

1 Security should NOT focus on certain areas that are NOT their responsibility (dance floors, gaming tables, an attractive person, etc.). Although personnel should be aware of a security situation that goes unseen by the security in another designated area. In this situation, radios should be used to communicate the problem to the appropriate security personnel. EVERY area of the establishment should be "manned" or accounted for.

2 If billiards or gaming tables are in the designated area, security personnel should take notice of possible gambling.

3 Often, at the billiard tables, disputes may arise over "who is next?” The establishment should supply means of establishing order (a sign-up chalk board works nicely). If accusations still occur, handle accordingly.

4 If heavy congestion occurs in a designated area which must be kept clear, security must keep patrons from remaining in the area (stairs, entrances, etc.). Security should explain the policy to the patron(s) and ask politely for the patron(s) to relocate. The service area of the bar should always be kept clear for waitresses and security. This service area allows for constant service of drinks, which improves profits. Patrons should be asked to stay out of this area for reasons stated above.

5 If certain areas become more populated, the Security Manager or security should make proper adjustments in the security positions.

6 Restroom activity should always be incorporated into the security realm. Such things to look for are: recognizing two people in one stall, drugs being exchanged, fights being initiated, opposite sex in designated bathrooms, overflowing toilets, damage that has or is being done by patrons, bottles and drinking glasses laying around, and general cleanliness. Make a note of patrons that may be standing outside opposite sex restrooms. This often makes women feel uneasy, when certain men are standing outside their restroom. This may sound a bit eccentric, but it was found in many surveys conducted with security personnel.

7 Allowing minors into an establishment increases the establishment’s risk dramatically. If the establishment admits minors and continues to serve alcohol to the adults, the procedure MUST be very closely monitored. A security person should attend to each designated area’s entrance and exit. The markings for adults should be distinguished to allow access in the designated area. A simple "X" with a black marker, which is often used, should be eliminated. This is too easily duplicated. The marking should be nontransferable. A sequential fluorescent marking is a good idea. If sequential marking is used and minors attempt to transfer it to their hand, the sequential marking will be transposed backwards. ABSOLUTELY NO MINORS SHOULD BE ALLOWED IN DESIGNATED ALCOHOL DRINKING AREAS.

8 Depending on the situation, cigarette machines should be monitored for minors attempting to purchase cigarettes.


Security personnel’s interaction with the customers should be a constant. However, security should always remain attentive to their surroundings. Befriending customers turns them into advocates in support of security (20 friendly customers see more than one security person). When a patron would like to speak with security, DO NOT remove your eyes from the designated area. Simply place your ear in front of them while your eyes view your designated area. Explain to the patron that you are not being rude. You are just very busy and you boss is strict in observing your duty.
A friendly handshake is completely acceptable and a great way of doing business. Befriending the customer allows for another set of "eyes and ears" for security purposes.


Hopefully, you are not reading this manual hoping to find the picture perfect reaction to an incident. There is no such thing. Every incident that occurs in an establishment will be different. How you handle yourself in verbal situations will be different for every occasion. The amount of force you use for every physical incident will be different. There is no martial art that teaches you Hollywood tricks of pinching a person behind the neck and knocking that unruly person out. Anyone who watches professional boxing has seen professionals, who train for months for a fight, get in the ring, and forget their whole game plan. Their trainer yells at them, in between rounds, to “stick to the game plan” but yet they have forgotten months of training. This is human nature. When adrenaline takes over, and your memory is replaced by fear, it is so important to relate back to training. So, forget the fantasy land of kung-fu kicks and let’s get to it.

The big question in many minds of security personnel is “what am I allowed to do verbally, or physically, to a patron when I am involved in a hostile situation?” The answer is simple: SELF-DEFENSE.
1 For Example: when no physical touching has been perpetrated against security, security may only use that force necessary to remove someone from the establishment’s premises, or use force necessary to cease any unruly activity that the patron may be committing.
2 when a physical touching has occurred, security may use necessary force to remove the patron from the establishment. NEVER USE EXCESSIVE FORCE! Since everyone is so lawsuit happy today, security will not get away with a good ole’ fashion ass whoopin’ like establishments use to allow.


1 Example: Security may use physical force against an aggressor in a physical situation involving other persons. If one patron is on top of another patron striking them, security personnel has the right to use physical force in the defense of the patron receiving the physical strikes. Think of this as the “big brother defense.” Once again, NEVER USE EXCESSIVE FORCE!

Responding to a physical altercation:

Security personnel should be responsible for responding to altercations in their designated area. The whole staff should not respond to one incident in a certain area, unless needed. A security person ratio of 4:2 is usually sufficient (4 Security: 2 Patrons).

1 First and foremost, get the attention of fellow security, or an employee to relay the message, in the event of an incident. Relay the message twice over the radio. Example: "Fight on the dance floor, fight on the dance floor."

2 Security should NOT run through a crowd in an uncontrollable manner when responding to any type of situation. This type of behavior can create other reckless situations (knocking down patrons, spilling drinks, and drawing more attention to the situation). Security should not draw attention to matters. This only makes crowd control more difficult. In a controlled manner, move as quickly as possible to the situation.

3 Upon arriving at the incident, assess the situation and determine:
Ø who is the aggressor?

Ø how many patrons are involved?

Ø are there any weapons?

Ø can the situation be defeated with the removal or grabbing of one person?

**These assessments need to be made in a matter of seconds.

1 After arriving and making assessments, USE PROPER PROCEDURES AND REMEMBER SELF DEFENSE, NO CHEAP SHOTS ON THE UNSUSPECTING PATRON!! Use loud verbal commands (STOP!, SECURITY!), while continuing to identify yourself. Properly secure the unruly patrons, and then remove them through the nearest exit. This is done to minimize the disruption and potential for violence. After restraining the person(s), do not subject patrons to possible unintended injury, assault, and/or battery. If the fighting patron is “locking up” or resisting security must physically remove them. While removing the fighting patron, reassure them the phrase “let’s talk it outside.” Approaching patrons from the back is a discretionary call. Some of the security interviewed for this manual recommended this technique, claiming the element of surprise. Others like to be seen, helping security to establish to the fighting patrons who is grabbing them.

2 When escorting the unruly patron out, if you are not physically removing them, use the blade method. The blade method is used by law enforcement around the nation. Blade is properly done by standing, or walking, behind the person you are controlling. You should be positioned at a 45-degree angle off of their hip, or at their 5 or 7 o’clock. Do NOT stand directly behind them in case of retaliation, unless their arms are secured. An unruly patron could turn and strike the unsuspecting security personnel with a strike directly to the body.

3 After removing the unruly person, use the “fresh face” approach, if necessary. The “fresh face” approach is used when the unruly patron is angry with the security personnel who physically removed them. This approach involves having someone other than the security personnel who brought the unruly patron out, interview that person. This approach is good for distinguishing any animosity that might have formed against the security.


5 Before beginning the interview, allow the unruly patron to settle down. Most of us have been in a situation where the adrenaline is pumping and anger has set in. Security should not tell the patron to “calm down,” instead they should use “slow down.” Using “slow down” instead of “calm down” seems less of an order. It is a play on words, but it is proven to work.

6 When beginning the interview, make sure you are in a good interview (defensive) stance. Your body should be at a 45 degree angle to the patron. Hands freely available and unobstructed. For defense purposes, keep a personal space (3 feet) between you and the unruly patron.

7 When interviewing the unruly customer, get the vital information first. Explain who you are and ask for his identification. Assure them that the ID check is simply for your comfort in knowing whom you are speaking to. When they issue the ID, write down the following information: name, address, and date of birth. After a positive identification has been obtained, gather the facts. Do not begin to copy the information while patron is still very upset, you don’t want to leave yourself open for an unsuspecting attack. If a party physically cannot or will not sign the document, have a friend or witness sign the report. Make sure you document on the report that the person refused to sign.

8 After information is gathered, assess the level of hostility of that patron. Security should expect hostility from an angry patron, but if the hostility is directed at security, or any staff member, that patron must leave.

9 Inside the establishment fellow security should talk to witnesses in or around the area where the customer was causing the problem and/or acting unruly. Be professional and ask the patron(s) for their assistance in documentation. Simply bring the patron(s) to a designated area, offer a complimentary non-alcoholic drink, and ask for a brief statement of what occurred. Always remember to document each person’s name, address and phone number. If a social security number is available, this is a better form of identification because it will never change, unlike an address or a phone number. These few minutes and a complimentary drink could save you millions of dollars in a future lawsuit. This also shows the patron(s), and the public, that you are professionals and very thorough in your security habits.

10 **If security, or the person in charge, does not feel comfortable with a situation (someone has been seriously injured, or there is minimal staff working) - call the police. This is what the police are paid to do. Once the person in charge has decided to call the police, inform the unruly patron of this. For example: approach the unruly patron(s) and say, “Sir, our policy is to ask you to leave. If you do not leave, the police will be called. Once we have called the police, it is our establishment’s policy to have you arrested. If you attempt to leave, after we have called, we will give them a description to the 911 operator as you drive away.” If they choose to remain on the property, after the 911 call, the establishment should follow through with the arrest.


1 Alert the other security and employees of a possible intoxicated person.

2 Determine that patron is highly intoxicated, and then approach the patron and ask to speak with them privately. Be respectful, but firm. If the patron asks, “why?” make any excuse necessary to get them to an area where you can speak with them.

3 Use proper interviewing techniques. Ask the patron questions concerning their level of intoxication. Security should note the patron’s body language during the interview. Security should expect some resistance from the highly intoxicated patron, this is normal.

4 If the patron is highly intoxicated tell them of the establishment’s policy and inform them that they must leave. Reassure them, if they have been respectful, that they are invited back after tonight, but the policy of the establishment and the law state that they must be asked to leave. Always blame the law; it forms a great excuse that isn’t your fault.

5 If the patron is not highly intoxicated, handle accordingly.

(c) 2005 Excelsior Entertainment


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