Academic award for research on pub and club bouncers
(14 January 2004)
A research team led by a University of Durham criminologist, Professor Dick Hobbs, has won a national award for a report on studies of pub and club bouncers.
A joint paper, published in the British Journal of Criminology, argued that the state devolves many of its policing duties to the bouncers.
Professor Hobbs, a leading researcher in this field, wrote the report with Philip Hadfield - a postgraduate research student at Durham, Stuart Lister – a former Durham student now doing research at the University of Leeds, and Simon Winlow - another former Durham student, now a lecturer at Teesside University.
Their paper, ‘Door Lore’, The Art and Economics of Intimidation’, has won the prestigious Radzinowicz Memorial Prize, awarded by the national Centre for Crime and Justice Studies.
Professor Hobbs, of the Department of Law, said the research explored the working practices, occupational culture, regulation and training of bouncers.
The project involved one member of the research team working as a bouncer in one city, and also included interviews with male and female bouncers throughout the country, as well as information from police, local authority personnel, town centre management, pub and club owners, licensees and training professionals. The research team accompanied the police on nightshifts in different towns and trained as registered bouncers to investigate the night-time economy, and in particular, violence, policing and door security.
As the night-time economy has evolved, so too have indigenous forms of regulation and policing. In the absence of public police officers, bouncers take responsibility for localised law and order at or near individual premises. They incorporate “night-time visitors into the disciplines and protocols of the late-night leisure market.”
According to Professor Hobbs and his co-authors, the environment within which bouncers work is often chaotic and saturated with aggression, egoism and intoxication, establishing a context within which violence becomes both a constant threat to door staff and a tool of their trade.
Although there are several registration schemes and training arrangements, which vary across the schemes, problems are dealt with informally in too many occasions and the police are involved in remarkably few incidents. According to the paper, these issues need to be taken more seriously by the state and the bouncer ‘problem’ should be understood as a symptom of unrestrained and deregulated economic development within the post-industrial night-time leisure sector.
14 January 2004
Notes to Editors:
The Department of Law at the University of Durham is one of the top 5 UK Law Schools. According to research ratings by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce), Law is a 5-Star Department with international excellence in more than 50% of the submitted research areas and national excellence in all remaining areas.