The UK Rules
Bouncer Laws and Regulations

Rules for Club Bouncers and Door Staff

Bouncers are a type of security guard who work as doormen at bars, clubs, and large social events. They help to keep order, but there are legal limits to what door staff can do - even in hostile encounters.

BAR BOUNCER RULES: Despite helping to maintain order bouncers need to keep a cool head.

The chief role of bouncers and doormen is making sure people are safe while they enjoy themselves.

Even so, they will encounter stressful and hostile situations. Such is the nature of the beast! So can a club bouncer punch you and can bouncers detain you in UK?

Some reports seem to contradict the legal powers of bouncers. We based this list of bouncer laws and regulations on expert advice and guidance.

The public community can use this guide to clarify the misconceptions on what doormen can legally do during a face-off. Extra information explains what to do if you get assaulted by a bouncer in the United Kingdom.

Can a Bouncer Use Excessive Force or Violence?

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What Specific Tasks Can Bouncers Perform?

United Kingdom law allows doormen to perform duties and specific tasks such as:

Note: People who are drunk or disorderly must leave the premises when requested to do so by a doorman. They commit an offence if they fail to leave without a reasonable excuse.

What are Club Bouncers Trained to Do?

Most doormen receive proper training in handling confrontations with the public. They get trained to try remedy situations using verbal communication instead of physical force.

Club bouncers tend to be big 'mean-looking muscle-bound guys' who look like they can handle a fight. As such, their visible presence alone is often enough to deter aggressive behaviour.

What are Bouncers Not Allowed to Do?

Door staff must not use 'unreasonable force'. But they are acting within the general rules for bouncers by using reasonable and proportionate force to:

Note: As a rule, door staff and club bouncers are not permitted to strike any patron with a kick or a punch. Some mitigating exceptions may apply for one or more of the above circumstances.

The law does not prevent the use of a choke-hold or face down restraints. But, expert recommendations suggest it is best to avoid these 'potentially harmful techniques' where possible.

What if You get Assaulted by a Bouncer or Doorman?

Members of the public can make an assault claim against an individual doorman or a team. They can also make claims against an establishment that employs bouncers. Follow these basic steps if a bouncer or doorman assaults you:

  1. Create a written report of the details while the incident is still fresh in your mind. Describe the whole incident including any circumstances leading up to the assault. Your report should also include anything relevant that happened after the assault.
  2. Include the dates and times in your notes. You should also add the full address of where the incident took place.
  3. Ask the authorities to give you copies of any police reports that got made. They may be helpful for a legal team to use in court.
  4. It is important to get the contact information of the bouncer who assaulted you. Try to get written information from any witnesses to the incident as well.
  5. Most establishments who employ doormen require them to make written incident reports. This is especially so any time bouncers use physical force. It is a good idea to request a copy of any such incident report from the employer.

Experts say it is important that any investigation into an incident of bouncer assault looks at the broad picture. It must include the events that occurred before, during, and after the altercation. In some cases, video footage may provide clearer evidence. There are several important areas to consider when it comes to incidents such as these.

Bouncer Laws and Regulations for Security Door Staff in the United Kingdom