Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson calls for review of licen

Bill Esterson


Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson has called for an urgent review of licensing standards for nightclub doormen, after a single strike from a Southport bouncer led to the death of a Formby resident.

Scott Sheard, 27, died of septicaemia in January 2012 after a single blow from a doorman left him permanently brain damaged and unable to walk, talk or feed himself.

The Sefton Central MP’s demand for a review comes in light of the inquest into Mr Sheard’s death. Assistant Deputy Coroner Martin Flemming accepted that the bouncer acted in self-defence, despite landing the strike without Scott attacking him.

Bill has called on Home Secretary Theresa May to watch CCTV footage of the 2009 incident, and to review the standard of training given to nightclub door supervisors.

Bill said: "What happened to Scott should happen to nobody. The industry needs to be improved to make sure that this does not happen again.

"Door supervisors do an important job in maintaining public safety. This is a vital role but it is equally vital that their training guarantees that they calm situations, not escalate them.

"The footage shows clearly that Scott did not hit anybody. He did not have a weapon. There was no attempt to restrain him or to remove him with less force than a shocking blow to the head, and the result is that this young man is now dead."

Door supervisors are licensed by the Security Industry Authority, which currently requires 38 hours’ training over four days. 

Bill said: "Police officers are given lengthy and ongoing training to handle confrontation and avoid violent escalation. Door supervisors routinely face the same situations, yet they receive just 38 hours’ training to cover all aspects of their job.

"I hope that when the Home Secretary sees the footage of this tragic incident she will agree with me that change in licensing standards and training is urgently needed."

Bill has also called on the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, to watch the footage, and to review the guidelines that allowed the incident to be dismissed as self-defence.

Bill said: "The results of the incident are devastating, and it is very worrying that there has been no attempt at prosecution. I met Scott and his mother Fenella and called on the Crown Prosecution Service to overturn the decision not to even try to prosecute. If what this CCTV footage shows is self-defence then that is a matter for the CPS. But it equally suggests that it is time that the definition of self-defence is looked at again."



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