'Safe words' people can use in bars and clubs if they feel in danger or uncomfortable

Inspector Hayley Crawford created Ask for Angela Credit: Nottinghamshire Police

A Nottinghamshire Police officer has received a national award in the House of Lords for creating a scheme which helps women and men in unsafe situations in pubs and bars.

District Commander for Bassetlaw, Inspector Hayley Crawford, created the Ask for Angela campaign, which has since been taken up in countries across the world.

The campaign encourages pubs, bars and other venues to place a poster in toilets promoting a "safe word" to use if they feel they are in danger or in an uncomfortable situation.

Any distressed person can then approach the bar and discreetly seek help by asking staff for "Angela" - a fictitious member of staff.

Insp Crawford has now been presented with a National Pubwatch Malcolm Eidmans award, named after the late chief superintendent who established Pubwatch.

The award recognises the outstanding contribution made by a police officer or member of police staff in supporting Pubwatch, a national scheme which aims to create a safer drinking environment in licensed premises.

Insp Crawford said: "I was overwhelmed to have been nominated and then to win the award.

"I am extremely proud of Ask for Angela, my passion to tackle sexual violence was the driving force from my previous role and its success globally shows it was something the public felt needed tackling.

"To be presented the award in the House of Lords with my dad by my side meant a lot."

The awards ceremony was hosted by Lord Kennedy of Southwark and sponsored by pub chain JD Wetherspoon.

Insp Crawford was a civilian employed as the sexual violence (prevention) strategic lead for Lincolnshire County Council when she created the 'Ask for Angela' campaign.

The initiative has received international attention and been taken up in many countries, including the United States, Australia, Argentina, and Germany.

The Ask for Angela poster has been downloaded over 15,000 times from the National Pubwatch website and many thousands more have been distributed in hard copy.

In 2017, Insp Crawford was winner of the Suzy Lamplugh Safety Campaign of the Year Award.

She also received a plaque for her commitment to public safety in 2018 from New South Wales Police in Australia, where Ask for Angela was launched in more than 1,000 bars in Sydney, while visiting as a keynote speaker at an event there.

Ask for Angela was rolled out across Bassetlaw this month and will be re-launched across the rest of Nottinghamshire soon after.

Bar staff and managers are being given training on implementing the scheme, which will be provided by Nottinghamshire Women's Aid and Communities Inc through their Stand By Her program.

By using the safe word it will indicate the person needs help with their situation and a trained member of staff will then take them to a safe location and look to support and assist them.

This could mean reuniting them with a friend, seeing them to a taxi, or by calling venue security and/or the police.