In Australia, Bouncers Told Not to Invervene in Brawls outside Venues

VICIOUS assaults outside Darwin nightspots have increased because of police threats to charge security guards if they intervene, a security guard said yesterday.

Security guard Steve Summers said licensing police have threatened to charge bouncers with assault or take away licences if they intervene in brawls outside venues.

''We had to watch as one poor guy was kicked in the head by four thugs as he lay on the ground unconscious on Sunday morning because we've been told our duty of care finishes once we walk out the door,'' he said.

''There were 30 or 40 people getting into each other by the time police arrived but we could have stopped it when there was only a few involved if we felt our livelihoods weren't threatened by stepping in.

''The consequences could be fatal and I don't want to have to get up in court and explain to the Coroner I stood back and didn't do anything because I was worried about getting arrested or losing my job.

''The thugs who carry out the assaults know the position we're in so they know that they can get away with it.

''It's got to a ridiculous situation and commonsense has to prevail or the thugs will win.''

The latest brawl comes three weeks after two police were assaulted when up to 80 youths battled with each other in the car park of a city bar as security guards watched on helplessly across the road.

Superintendent of Darwin and Casuarina Operational Service Division Kris Evans said NT Police introduced the licensing patrol taskforce to liaise with security, licensees and bar managers to crack down on violent incidents.

''If a security guard sees an incident across the road they have a moral obligation to assist where they can,'' he said.

''That doesn't mean they should dive head first into a dangerous situation but they can call police and assist where possible.

''They can't use unnecessary force and neither can police but they are covered by civilian arrest and can help people until police arrive.''