The UK Door Security Association (UKDSA) has raised huge concerns over the number of licensed security available for when late-night businesses reopen over the coming months.
As a result of the Covid pandemic and the extended period of restrictions on licensed premises and events, the trade body fears that six in every 10 late night venue, pub, bar and club door supervisor positions are at risk of not being filled on reopening this year.
Although there have been more than 14,000 applications and renewals being submitted each month to the Security Industry Authority (SIA), new door supervisor SIA licence applications in the past 12 months are significantly down on previous years.
The UKDSA found many door supervisor licence renewals have been utilised in alternative roles, for example, where a guard is carrying out a static security guard job with a door supervisor licence. This is because many security professionals have had to seek other sources of employment during the pandemic and, the trade body said, no longer wish to work short hours, with increased risk to health, at low rates of pay.
This leaves door security companies needing to fill "significant staff shortages" ahead of the reopening of night-time events as planned under the government's roadmap.
The situation is set to become more acute with upcoming changes from regulators that would see the costs to become a licensed door supervisor increase due to extended training requirements.
The UKDSA is calling on the SIA to postpone its plans to introduce additional training and costs, due to come into force in April, and reduce the current costs of new door supervisor licences and renewals significantly, so that the sector will be able to meet the demand surge expected for the relaxation of restrictions. Having sufficient security staff in place will be crucial in allowing the night-time economy sector to reopen safely.
A spokesperson for UKDSA said members were "deeply concerned" about the timing of these changes and the impact on front line staffing levels and urged the SIA to delay the new measures.
Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night-Time Industries Association, added: "We rely heavily on licensed door supervisors to keep our staff and customers safe. With the additional responsibility of public health within these unprecedented times, it is even more important that we remove barriers to ensure that we are able to fulfil the resource requirement.
"Additional barriers will present further issues, limiting businesses from opening if they are reliant on this resource as part of their licensing conditions.
"This will need a government intervention to ensure that the industry has the ability to provide enough staff. While the training is welcomed, it is not timely given the current economic situation across most of the sector, and consideration needs to be given to it being pushed back to 2022."