Serving time on drugs pushers

Ross Wigham looks at increased priorities for the licensed trade in security
courses

The major training concerns of pub and bar managers may once have been
pulling the perfect pint or learning the latest drinks prices, but more
sinister overtones now occupy their thoughts.

Security measures and concerns over illegal drugs are now high on the list
of priorities around the nation’s nightspots and a rise in training is
testament to the scale of the problem.

The British Institute of Innkeeping (BII), the professional body for the
licensed trade with around 15,000 members, is finding that a raised awareness
of security issues and drugs is becoming essential to help prevent prosecution.

A marked increase in the number of staff completing the relevant training
courses and gaining qualifications shows the sector is worried about the risks.
The BII launched the National Certificate for Door Supervisors in 1998 and so
far 4,246 people have completed training, with 1,312 of those qualifying in the
last eight months.

Similarly the Licensee’s National Drugs Certificate, which has been endorsed
by Bob Ainsworth, responsible for the Government’s anti-drugs co-ordination
policy, has attracted 846 pub staff since its launch late last year.

Both courses were launched in response to growing problems with violence and
drugs, says John McNamara, chief executive of the BII. The training aims to
make prevention and detection more professional.

"Two or three years ago we identified the need for new training and
this was demand-led from the industry. Pubs and bars wanted to have a more
professional approach to drugs and door management," he says.

Increased door management training also came about in response to a
hardening of opinion among local authorities, many of which now insist door
staff are trained to a certain standard before issuing a public entertainment
licence.

Most big cities with large scale nightlife now operate a registration
scheme, which means that only properly trained staff can work on the door of
licensed premises.

The training, which varies in length depending on local requirements, covers
first aid, conflict management, safety, refusing entry, eviction and use of
force, and is assessed by exams and physical competence.

McNamara says the registration schemes have been useful for the industry and
the authorities, because heightened training has led to reductions in door
incidents by up to 90 per cent in Bradford, Bournemouth and Warwickshire.

The use and sale of illegal drugs is also a danger to the industry and those
who are found to be negligent run the risk of losing their license. Landlords
need a clearer understanding of the problem.

"The training is trying to dispel some of the myths about drugs because
there is ignorance around. Drugs are incredibly difficult to deal with. We
launched the training in 2001 and the entries are really starting to
climb," he says.

The course is designed to raise awareness of the drugs scene and it gives a
basic knowledge of the law surrounding the misuse and supply of controlled
drugs.

It teaches staff to spot the signs of drug misuse and dealing, and how to
develop their own strategies to prevent such problems.

The one-day course also gives people detailed instructions for searching
suspects, how to deal with a medical emergency and a knowledge of the
circumstances that could lead to a licence being revoked.

John Franklin-Webb runs Grosvenor International Services (GIS) – one of the
BII’s 300 approved training centres – where he also teaches staff from the
prison service how to deal with and search for illegal drugs.

As part of his day job he carries out drug searches for the police and has
noticed a rise in the number of bar staff interested in learning more about
developing drugs policies: "We’re seeing a growth in the need for staff to
be more professional when it comes to security and drugs," he says.

"Over the last year to 18 months we have noticed that more people want
to do this training, where we primarily teach staff to be aware of drugs and
drugs paraphernalia."

The course is a mix of classroom and practical learning but more emphasis is
placed on learning how to apply the theory in the workplace.

"In training we will plant drugs and drugs paraphernalia in a building
and teach people how to locate them. Then it’s about what to do when they
actually find them," says Franklin-Webb.

The qualification also covers monitoring staff for drugs as well as how to
comply with regulations covering the finding or confiscation of illegal drugs.

"It makes staff much more vigilant to the dangers of drugs on the
premises and what to do about it," he adds.

Case study
Door staff latch on

Andrew Nicholls, security and licensing manager at Six
Continents Retail, has been using training for his door staff in one form or
another for about six years.

The group operates more than 2,000 premises in the UK and now
insists all its external security suppliers are fully qualified.

"Where we have large security teams we send managers on
courses with door staff to give them a better understanding of the skills
required, and similar training for when they face security issues.

Six Continents will also be using the drugs qualification later
in the year to help train staff in coping with high-risk areas.

Contacts

To find out more about BII courses
contact Jo Reynolds at the BII

Tel: 01276 417806 or e-mail qualifications@BII.org

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