After a video of a bouncer punching a woman in the face divided the nation into victim-blamers and everyone else, this is how much force they are actually allowed to use.
The Liverpool Echo found out exactly what bouncers are allowed to do during a confrontation.
Bouncers are not free to engage in excessive force or violence, and can only use force if it is first used against them (self defence).
Other tasks they can perform include: issue verbal warnings, ask you to leave, check ID, refuse entry, call the police, protect innocent bystanders from violence, break up fights, and respond with equal force if necessary.
Most bouncers are trained to dissolve confrontation through verbal communication rather than physical force.
Bouncers are not allowed to use force unless they are first threatened with physical harm.
If they are approached with physical harm, they are allowed to strike a patron with a punch, kick or push or may throw a person out of an establishment, and restrain them in choke-holds or other techniques.
As is clear, these rules leave a lot of room for abuse of power, and if you feel you have an assault claim against a bouncer, there are important steps to follow.
Make a note of the date, times, and full details of the incident, and keep copies of police reports and incident reports.
Karl Barry, the acting chair of the Merseyside Security Forum, said to the Liverpool Echo:
The rights of a security guard are the same as anyone else, he has the right to use reasonable force but that depends on necessity, proportionality and justification.
Was it necessary and was it proportional? That determines whether the action was justified, but I don’t know the full circumstances in this case.
While it looks like he has defended himself, that does not mean I condone what he did and perhaps if he had been supported by his colleagues, then they would have taken over before he lost control.
In the video the woman can be seen approaching the security guard before swinging a punch at his head, and he expertly ducks her flailing arm before setting himself and landing a right hand firmly in her face, sending her stumbling backwards.
Many people have argued that he was only acting in self defense, but he didn’t actually get hit at all.
I suppose it’s about whether his force was considered ‘necessary’ in that situation. It looks like he could have ducked and then restrained her as oppose to whacking her.