As police carefully investigate woman said to be involved in shocking racist incident on Broad Street, business leader MIKE OLLEY warns against mob rule.
We have an awful lot to be proud of in Westside. Presumably, you picked up on the alleged racist attack on one of our most noble of door staff a few days ago.
I wasn’t pleased that it took place, but given what I saw and heard, the doorman was spot on. He is a credit not only to himself but also to the fraternity of those who manage our licenced premises.
On the downside, I did get very bored with those who wanted to bypass all legal due process and simply socially burn the girl at the stake, before any properly constituted trial.
Matthew Hopkins died in 1647. He was the self-styled ‘Witch Finder General’ who tracked down and killed maybe 300 or more ‘witches’ (men and women). He would today be a social media warrior. He used to find evidence of witch hood by hurling the accused into a river. If they floated, that was proof of their crime. If they drowned, that was evidence of their innocence.
Nowadays a few minutes of a film clip is all that is needed. Forget the expensive and time-consuming bother of assembling evidence, laying out clear charges, hearings on both sides, and letting the law dictate the punishment.
Despite how we all feel, we still live in a state that has rules, procedures and civil rights. Once a person is suspected of committing an offence, you have to obey the law. In our case, the young lady has been arrested, interviewed and bailed, and is now subject to the process of the law.
That means she is innocent until charged and, unless she admits the offence, she must be given a fair trial to be proven guilty. You will also notice my careful use of the term “allegedly” in order to comply with the law. Despite how strongly we all feel about her actions she is not subject to trial by social media, despite how virtuous or well-meaning that may be.
You may say, “what a waste” and why not just allow the head of the mob, that is someone with a lot of followers, to throw who they fancy in the river?
Thank goodness our doorman, the victim, didn’t adopt the social media approach to justice. He didn’t take the law into his own hands when he was sprayed with a barrage of alleged racist abuse. He stood there all calm whilst his colleague took down the evidence. What a credit that door team are.
Yet you know I’m not really surprised with the manner in which the doorman behaved. In more than 20 years on Broad Street I have witnessed door staff, door teams and general managers behave exceptionally well indeed.
They stand on doors, often with massive relentless queues, getting the same old jokes, the same old jibes. They just take it all in their stride. Occasionally they may spot someone or a group of individuals who they simply don’t feel confident should be allowed onto the premises. A nod or swift look amongst them can be all it takes.
This insight can often be the balance between accepting paying customers or accepting trouble. It’s a split-second decision. Parliament has given front of house teams the right to do this.
Get the decision wrong and you may end up with a punch on the nose or your licence to work under review. It’s a tough test which is constantly placed onto front of house teams day in day out. Yet a test where our front of house teams constantly achieve top marks. They are a special breed and I salute each and every one of you.
While the doorman who was subjected to this alleged assault is clearly very special, he is also typical of our front of house teams in the Broad Street area. So may I personally salute you. You are truly a credit to us all.