‘Ask for Angela’ campaign launches in Plymouth today
Code-word ‘Angela’ can now be used to alert bar staff in Plymouth pubs and clubs if a customer feels threatened or unsafe on a date
Devon and Cornwall Police, Best Bar None, L&D Training and the University of Plymouth Students’ Union are working together to launch this joint campaign to help people to stay safe while dating in pubs and clubs in Plymouth.
The scheme allows anyone, male or female, who may be feeling threatened or unsafe on a date, to get out of the situation by approaching the bar and asking for ‘Angela’. Staff can then call a cab, contact a friend or relative to collect them, or ask the individual causing the distress to leave the premises - helping the customer concerned to stay safe.
The ‘Ask for Angela’ initiative was originally launched by Lincolnshire County Council and has already proved successful in other regions across the country. Training has now been provided to local police and bar staff to respond to anyone who asks for ‘Angela’.
Posters advertising the scheme will be placed in various venues across Plymouth containing messages such as: “Are you on a date that isn’t working out?” and “Is your Tinder or POF (dating site) date not who they said they were on their profile?”. People are then advised to go to the bar and ask for Angela where the bar staff will help them get out of the situation discreetly.
Superintendent, Craig Downham, of Devon and Cornwall Police said, “This simple, yet effective scheme empowers members of the public to seek help if they are feeling vulnerable in a pub or club. A person can raise their concerns with the bar staff in the knowledge that help is available.
“With the advent of online dating, people sometimes find that when they meet someone for a date who they have met online, they may be a very different and potentially dangerous person.
“We hope this initiative will safeguard people who are feeling vulnerable and prevent uncomfortable situations escalating into something more serious. If an offence does occur, then we know bar staff will contact police to attend the scene.”
Jay McDonnell, Chair Plymouth BBN said, “Ask for Angela was launched in the UK in 2016 and feedback across the country has been extremely positive. The initiative aims to get anyone who feels vulnerable in pubs and clubs to a safe place by using a discreet phrase, ‘is Angela in’ for example; to people out on a first date.
“We have been working closely with Devon and Cornwall Police and L&D Training to carry out free training sessions for venue managers, team members and door staff across the city. Nearly 100 members are now trained and 15 venues part of the initiative, which we expect to rise over the coming months.
“We will be holding further training in March, any venues who wish to sign up to the initiative can email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.”
Lorna Markillie of L&D Training added, “The L&D Training team are committed to educating and supporting victims of sexual abuse. We strive to raise as much awareness within the South West around taboo subjects which are often overlooked.
“We have been working closely with Devon and Cornwall Police and Best Bar None to support the free training sessions around vulnerability, to venue managers, team members and door staff around Plymouth. The training sessions have had a great turn out and the response has been very positive for all members.”
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