In recent months, CRISIS @ Rock City, one of the University of Nottingham’s most popular student nights, has been getting a lot of attention due to the behaviour of their security personnel.
A video, released back in November, showed a student being grabbed around the neck in a chokehold position by a bouncer, which left the student unconscious.
Rossi, the student who filmed and posted the video online via the University of Nottingham’s Buy/Sell Facebook page, told Impact: “[I] literally just filmed it to put on my Snapchat because obviously they have a reputation for being violent, and only a few weeks prior to the video, I was mishandled and evacuated out for something silly. [Therefore], I wanted to get a bit of publicity for their nature.”
“The video brought a lot of attention towards Rock City, and none of it was any good,” said another student.
On Wednesday 7th March, Impact was invited to shadow the Head of Security at CRISIS, Dave, from 8:30pm to 3:30am.
“In the short space of time since [Dave’s] arrival, [CRISIS] have experienced a noticeable drop in incidents and complaints”
This was done to investigate not only the behaviour and responsibility of the security personnel but also that of the students.
When asking Dave about the incident, he said he could not make a comment because he was not a member of staff at the time, having only become Head of Security in December. However, since taking over, there have been significant changes.
“When he joined he immediately moved on members of the team that he didn’t feel were up to scratch, and brought in fresh training and approaches for the rest of the staff,” said Andrew Smith, the Managing Director at Carpe Noctum, an events company who organises CRISIS.
“In the short space of time since his arrival, we have experienced a noticeable drop in incidents and complaints”, continued Andrew.
“We try to use minimal force as much as possible”
Security’s aggressive behaviour?
“Often to someone witnessing the removal of an individual from a nightclub, it may appear to be more aggressive than it is,” Andrew states.
At times, it depends on “how much resistance the individuals being removed puts up. If they hold their hands up and move with security, staff can just lead them out the venue with a hand on the back. If they resist, that’s when things look bad.”
Whilst shadowing Dave, there was an incident where a member of security was punched in the face by a student, leading the student to be placed flat on the floor with his hands behind his back. The police were then called, but no charges were made.
“This is what we do during these situations”, said Dave. “We try to use minimal force as much as possible.”
“Some individuals become aggressive when drunk, and so will try and start fights with other people, including door staff”
Student aggression and behaviour:
Whilst drunk, student behaviour at clubs can be questionable. Over the course of the evening, many students attempted to break in and even offered money to be let back in.
Close to the entrance of Black Cherry Lounge, there is a fire exit where one student had his fingers stuck between the doors, shouting to his friend: “Help me! My finger is stuck!”
“This isn’t to say it isn’t taken too far by staff; it sometimes is.”
With the friend looking amused and helpless, Dave helped the student, and they were both asked to leave.
Not long after, two students, already in the club, opened the fire exit to allow two of their friends to run into the club. The response to this was fast. Security personnel quickly ran after the students and once caught, they were removed from the club with the staff holding onto their arms.
In fact, when talking about their “aggressive” behaviour, many of the security personnel expressed the amount of abuse they get from students.
“[Dave] expressed that students think that all members of staff are uneducated and dumb”
Speaking to Impact, a coordinator for Nottingham Night Owls, who can often be found outside CRISIS helping out students who need it, expressed similar sentiments: “In terms of student aggression, I have witnessed it more than door staff aggression. Some individuals become aggressive when drunk, and so will try and start fights with other people, including door staff.
“This isn’t to say it isn’t taken too far by staff; it sometimes is.”
Whilst shadowing, many students could be heard saying “fuck you” and “fuck off” to the security when asked to move, or make space so that an area doesn’t get too crowded.
Talking about this verbal abuse, Andrew said that they have something called “the greatest hits”, a compilation of things that are frequently said to Rock City staff and security. Some of these include:
- “My [insert parent here] is a lawyer”
- “You minimum wage prick”
- “You will never amount to anything”
- “Fine, but you’ll be working for me one day”
After talking to Dave, he expressed that students think that all members of staff are uneducated and dumb. When in reality, “that isn’t the case.”
“It has a lot to do with profiling and observing, something that they are trained to do”
Training and regulations:
During the night, two students were barred for cocaine possession. When asked how security knew that they had drugs on them, Dave said that it has a lot to do with profiling and observing, something that they are trained to do. For instance, one security personnel said that there are only really two reasons for why guys go into the same stall, either to “have sex, or something related to drugs.”
He added that all security personnel hired must at least have a minimum of a Door Supervisor licensing qualification.
Talking about improvements, Dave mentions that at the end of every night, he gives a security briefing with his staff, either telling them “good job” or talking about what could have gone better.
In addition, whenever a security personnel escorts a student out from the club, it is a rule to write it down in a book called the ‘Incident Report’, which is kept as documentation.
“We have quite a lot of clear CCTV that can either support a complaint or show it to be not quite as offered”
Many students claim that they were “kicked out for no reason” and that they have done “nothing wrong.” However, during the investigation, this proved to not always be true.
During the night, a student was escorted out due to a fight. Once removed from the club, one of his friends and the student himself, approached Dave claiming that he had done “nothing wrong,” explaining that it was the other person involved who initiated the fight.
Dave then went to check the CCTV and from there it was clear that the story presented to Dave wasn’t entirely true. The footage did, in fact, show that the fighting was initiated from both sides and there was an equal amount of pushing and shoving from all involved.
“We think a lot of people might think before they complain on social media if they think evidence might be produced contrary to their view”
Dave said that a lot of students claim that they have done “nothing wrong.” However, for the majority of cases during the course of the evening, the CCTV footage shows something different.
Andy Hoe, the owner of Ocean, had similar views. He told Impact: “To be honest, when I look into a complaint, often what actually happened tends to be fairly different from the initial version of events. We have quite a lot of clear CCTV that can either support a complaint or show it to be not quite as offered. You have to remember alcohol is often a factor.”
However, Dave does say that if they do end up being in the wrong, they fix the issue and apologise.
CCTV and social media:
One of the problems that Andrew mentions is that “security does not particularly have a voice.” He goes on to explain that the student who was removed can go online “and slate security as much as they wish and skip out or embellish the bit about why they were removed.
“There will be no rebuttal, [since] security do not have the time to challenge any mud being slung.”
In addition, security is not allowed to release CCTV footage due to data protection laws.
“I would say that we have noticed a substantial drop in issues since the introduction of body cams last summer”
“We wish we could,” Dave says. “We think a lot of people might think before they complain on social media if they think evidence might be produced contrary to their view.”
Not only do they have cameras within the venue, they also have body cams. “I would say that we have noticed a substantial drop in issues since the introduction of body cams last summer,” Andrew explains. “This is not so much due to their actual recordings, but for the clear visual reminder to people to behave better.”
Andrew, however, also understands that “it may also prevent the potential of bad behaviour from the wearer since they also can be reviewed in the recordings.”
Note: if you ever have any issues whilst at CRISIS then contact a member of security on the night and they will look into it.
Furthermore, if you have a complaint against any member of the team, then reach out to Carpe Noctum who will investigate your concerns. They can be contacted through the CRISIS website or on any of our social media channels.
If you have any information you would like to give regarding the themes discussed in this article, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional research by Charlotte Hingley