Bouncer licensing gets thumbs-up from owners

Change cleans up industry

JONO GALUSZKA
Last updated 12:00 01/11/2012
Reuben Takarua
ROBERT KITCHIN/Fairfax NZ
ON THE DOOR: CD Security director Reuben Takarua says the licensing scheme for bouncers has been good despite a few issues.

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Despite teething problems, Palmerston North bar owners and security company directors say the licensing scheme for bouncers has been a good thing.

From this day last year, all security staff for bars and crowd controllers at sporting events had to be licensed to work legally.

Becoming licensed involved a fee and a criminal history check, with people likely to be refused licences if they had a history relating to drugs, violence or dishonesty.

Beer Barrel and Empty Vessel owner Nathan Hiscox said there had been good and bad points to the scheme.

"There was a lot of instances of ex-cons and dodgy people being doormen because it was an easy job to get into.

"[Licensing] has cleaned it up."

But having to shell out to get security staff licensed, without the option of a trial period, did create issues, he said.

"$170 a pop is a lot of money, and you can get them in and they don't work out."

Covering people who were sick or did not turn up could also be difficult, as there were no temporary licences, he said.

"It has caused problems because normally I'll have seven [security] on, but have had to have five.

"It makes it hard having to deal with 400 people in a bar and 300 in queue, plus all the s... on the street."

CD Security director Reuben Takarua said there had been issues which needed ironing out over the year. "But I've always agreed that we should be registered.

"It's about safety for customers, safety for staff and safety for each other."

The licensing scheme had not changed how bar security worked, he said.

"We still move and groove like we always have."

Covering staff could be tricky when people called in sick, but being prepared helped make things easier.

"It's just about having that base of staff there to fill the need," Mr Takarua said.

Some people with criminal convictions had appealed having their applications rejected, with mixed results, he said.

"But the ones with the good character get through and are granted their licences."

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- Manawatu Standard

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