The Ask for Angela initiative, which will be operating at a number of participating pubs and clubs and restaurants in the city centre, provides customers with a phrase they can use if they find themselves in an unsafe situation and are feeling unsure, vulnerable or distressed by the person they are with.
It encourages people to go to the bar and ‘Ask for Angela’, which will alert staff to their concerns and take action to defuse the situation. They will take the individual to one side or to a safer location away from the person causing the problem so they can speak in confidence to staff about the situation and any help they may need.
Staff at participating venues have been trained to recognise the safe word, ‘Angela’, alerting them to a problem. The member of staff can then offer to call a taxi, provide a safe place for the individual to contact a friend, or help them to leave the venue if they are feeling unsafe due to someone else’s actions, words or behaviour.
Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: “We’re pleased to be working together in partnership with licensed premises, Wolverhampton BID, Pubwatch and West Midlands Police to make the city’s nightlife as safe as possible.
"People should feel safe when they are out and about and that’s why it is important that pubs, bars and restaurants across the city are taking part in this simple yet effective scheme, providing assistance for people who find themselves in a difficult or intimidating situation.
“They may find themselves in the company of someone who is not what they seemed, and they may want to get away safely and with the minimum of fuss. This initiative will help and hopefully prevent a situation escalating into something more serious.”
Cherry Shine, Wolverhampton BID Director, said: “Ask for Angela is a great campaign that we will be continuing to promote and work with our hospitality sector to support. With the nightlife in the city returning, especially now our student populations are back, this campaign is well known among all of our licensed venues who will be able to support anyone who feels vulnerable.”
Wolverhampton is one of several cities and towns to take up the Ask for Angela initiative, which was originally devised by Lincolnshire County Council.
Meanwhile, the Get Home Safe campaign targeting new students in the city will be running in conjunction with Ask for Angela. It aims to educate people about the difference between private hire vehicles and taxis when travelling home from the city centre.
New directional signage has been installed across the city as part of the campaign, to help residents locate the nearest taxi rank.