Nightclub bouncers are to receive special training in how to spot suicide bombers and terrorists under new government proposals.
The plans which are being considered by David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, could mean thousands of bouncers employed by pubs and nightclubs would be schooled in dealing with security evacuations and even chemical attacks.
Sir John Stevens, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan police, is understood to support the proposals, which would mean the private security industry working closely with police in combating terrorism.
The Home Office has already announced that security guards employed by the private sector, including bouncers and wheel clampers, will be regulated by a new national licensing scheme. It will be overseen by the Security Industry Authority, a new body launched last month by the Government to give credibility to the industry.
The private security industry has never been regulated by law and has suffered from a poor public image. Under the new programme, an estimated 105,000 bouncers will have to pay between £150 and £180 for a three-year licence that allows them to work legally.
Later this month, the SIA will announce the details of the licensing system, which will bar applicants with criminal convictions for murder, rape and drugs offences. People who apply will also have to pass an English language test and demonstrate that they are capable of dealing with unruly customers without resorting to violence.