PSNI and businesses launch 'Ask for Angela' campaign to help keep people safe on a night out
It's approaching the busy festive period when more people are out visiting pubs, restaurants and clubs.
As a precautionary measure, the PSNI and the hospitality sector have joined forces to help keep people safe while enjoying a night out.
The ‘Ask for Angela’ campaign encourages anyone who feels unsafe, vulnerable or threatened to use the codeword, "Angela" to indicate to staff that they need help with their situation.
The safety initiative is being rolled out to bars, clubs and other licensed businesses across Northern Ireland.
The Police are giving staff at venues that support the campaign special training.
Staff might help the person asking for help by reuniting them with a friend, seeing them to a taxi, or calling venue security and or the police.
PSNI Detective Superintendent Lindsay Fisher said: “If people on a night out are aware of the Ask for Angela initiative, they know that if they feel harassed or vulnerable that they can reach out to a staff member and just have a discreet conversation with them, and that they will help them navigate out of that venue.”
More than one hundred venues have already signed up for staff training - adding an extra layer of security for people on a night out.
Joel Neill, Operations Director of Hospitality Ulster said if they can even help one person through the initiative, it will be worth it.
“The evening economy staff have a duty of care to the people who use their services and enjoy their services. They have to look after them.
"It's important and it's critical for us that we make sure it's a safe and enjoyable place to have a night out."
Detective Supt Fisher added: “And I think it's also really important off the back of the police service’s Violence against Women and Girls Action Plan and why this scheme isn't solely for women and girls.
"I think it just shows that public commitment to making those safer spaces across Northern Ireland.”
The training will be backed up by posters to display on local premises and digital media, to raise awareness of the scheme, throughout December and next year.
This new scheme is part of the PSNI’s annual ‘Operation Season's Greetings’ with more officers out on targeted patrols at night to keep people safe
The initiative started in 2016 and has been rolled out successfully in various parts of England and Wales since. It is now being formally rolled out to the hospitality sector in Northern Ireland
Local venues are being asked to register for the scheme and access the training package via the Hospitality Ulster website.
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