Practical Bravery: LISA BASKOTT



In every city, town and village in the UK, the safety of people enjoying a night out is often in the hands of some of the country’s 400,000 trained door supervisors, bouncers, security guards. There are more than double the number of security personnel than there are police officers.
But there are two important things you should know.
90% of door supervisors are men.
And their job is to protect property.
So the curious place where commercial business thinking meets critical social reform is this –
if 50% of door supervisors were women, and if security job descriptions were tweaked to also have a role in protecting people – what would that change?

Key quotes:

“I started to get that rising, sick feeling in my stomach and I thought, oh my god, they’re not going to find her alive. She’s gone.”

“Women gathered on Clapham Common and we saw the response of the Met Police. It was shocking.”

“I fell upon the night-time economy and the institution that is there to look after people. And when I looked at levels of policing that had fallen off a cliff and when you’re in trouble it’s unlikely to be a police officer coming to your rescue, it’s more likely to be one of those people working on the doors of venues.”

“There have been roughly 400,000 door supervisor licenses issued. Until recently only 10% are women. It was hovering at around 8% before the end of last year, it’s only just got to 10%. I was absolutely horrified. Then I started to think, maybe this is the problem, right?”

“We’ve got some antiquated thoughts in general at that frontline [door security] position, and we’ve got this new cohort wishing to be nothing other than their true authentic selves, and then you get this clash, right, and you get this mismatch, and nothing is being done within the industry to rectify that, to raise the awareness of people in those roles.”

“I think there’s been a massive disconnect over time about what the door security role can be, and should be.”

“This is the industry sector that is tasked with being there for you and I, if anything goes wrong. And it’s a mess.”

“So off I went and did the Door Supervisor Training Course and I loved it, met some amazing people. But I also knew at the end of that course it wasn’t going to stop there: I had to get out on the frontline.”

“It was about needing to understand the effect that having a woman in that position would have on people. Young people would literally say ‘knowing you are here makes me feel safe’.”

“If something bad happens to a woman in an event and she feels she can come to the person on the door, then we can potentially save that person from a great deal of heartache. What generally happens is a girl will be assaulted in a club and rather than go to a door supervisor, she’ll take that shit home with her. And that’s unacceptable, right?”

“I realised that what I was talking about was systemic change, changing the overall narrative of an industry sector.”

“I thought that ‘being heard’ was going to take a long time, and I was in it for the long haul. But the doors have opened for me. The regulator, big organisations in security, have approached me and want to hear what I have to say.”

This episode was recorded in April 2023

Interviewer: Richard Freeman for always possible

Editor: CJ Thorpe-Tracey for Lo Fi Arts


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