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Can bouncers fight back? Your rights...

Byline: BETHANY LODGE @bethlodge1

FOOTAGE appearing to show bouncers throwing punches when confronted by rowdy clubbers has gone viral on social media in recent weeks.

Debate over whether the doormen are out of order or simply doing their job has been rife following recent reports of retaliation.

With more incidents of bouncers allegedly fighting back, how far can they actually go? And do they have a right to? A woman in Liverpool was filmed taking a swing at a bouncer outside of Hardy's Bar on Easter Sunday.

The footage appears to show the doorman avoiding her punch, before swinging back at her face.

While here on Teesside an incident at Spensley's Emporium in March led to a clubber being hospitalised for his injuries.

Connor Hayes was on a night out with friends when he was knocked out by a bouncer at the Albert Road nightspot.

He said he was trying to negotiate entry for a friend when the doorman launched a single punch, knocking him unconscious.

Cleveland Police were called to the scene but no arrests were made.

Footage of both the incidents was widely shared on social media, provoking opinions from both camps. Some say the bouncers are perfectly entitled to defend themselves, while others believe it is their job to protect party goers, not cause injuries themselves.

It seems there are differing opinions on a bouncers' rights.

Here is what the law says they are entitled to do: Can they use force? Bouncers should only use force if it is first used against them - they are NOT allowed to use force or violence as they see fit. These rights are the same as any other citizen is entitled to.

What does the law say they can do? Legally bouncers can: | Break up fights between others; | Call the police; | Check for ID; | Protect innocent members of the public from violence; | Respond with equal force; | Refuse entry to a venue; | Ask you to leave, and | Give verbal warnings.

Verbal communication is key.

Bouncers are trained to pacify situations using words, rather than physical force. Their presence is usually enough to keep fracas at bay.

They are not entitled to use force unless threatened themselves.

What do I do if I feel I've been assaulted by a bouncer? If you feel you've been assaulted take the following steps: | Make a written report while the incident is still fresh in your mind; | Take notes of dates, times and where it happened in as much detail as possible; |Request any copies of police reports, and | Take down contact information.

Connor Hayes was injured on a night out in Middlesbrough

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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:May 2, 2017
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