Safety first, last, always
Does the phrase ‘Ask for Angela’ mean anything to you? Chances are, it does – though if not, you need to think seriously about changing your hospitality venue of choice (or to tell them about it).
‘Ask for Angela’ is a brilliant campaign begun by Lincolnshire County Council in 2016 aimed at making people safe in pubs, bars and nightclubs. Named in memory of a woman called Angela Crompton, who was abused and murdered by her husband, it allows anyone who feels threatened to use the phrase as a plea for assistance from staff in any venue which is part of the scheme.
The theory is that a venue signing up to ‘Ask for Angela’ will have ensured their staff are trained to deal correctly with the situation, and the response takes the form of escorting the person who feels threatened to a safe room and ordering a taxi, reuniting them with a friend, calling in venue security or police or asking the other party involved to leave the premises.
The campaign spread rapidly, initially via social media but was then embraced by many police forces including the Metropolitan Police and organisations such as Safer Sounds, part of the Safer Business Network. It’s been a success in terms of roll-out, with hundreds of hospitality venues signing up and posters being displayed behind bars and, naturally, in women’s toilets.
Covid-19 inevitably led to a stalling in the take-up of ‘Ask for Angela’ and the campaign is only now regaining momentum. However, a survey of 2,000 people for social media campaign Catcalls of London revealed a lack of confidence that venue staff would be trained and that there wouldn’t be awareness of ‘Ask for Angela’ even where venues had signed up.
‘Metro’ newspaper found a lack of knowledge of the campaign in venues that displayed posters; some bar staff even said “Who’s Angela?” when the question was asked.
So, there’s a long way to go, even where the campaign has been embraced. Complete Licensing is an enthusiastic supporter of ‘Ask for Angela’ start, and we offer online courses – developed by the Metropolitan Police – in Women and Vulnerability Engagement (WAVE) training.
We also partner with Profile Aware, which works to ensure night-time venue safety. Profile Aware’s bespoke course on Behavioural Detection in the night time economy (BDNTE) is offered to our clients and supports agencies tackling Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG). The focus is on identifying predators within and around venues and ensures staff understand the correct procedures and protocols. It’s a full Behavioural Detection Officer qualifying course which includes mentored deployments to develop and assess performance.
Profile Aware Ltd developed their NTE course alongside Thames Valley Police (TVP) as part of the police commitment to Operation Vigilent, (protecting vulnerable females). Profile Aware has trained in excess of one hundred and fifty TVP officers.
We at Complete Licensing are also fully behind the Mayor of London’s Night Safety Charter – part of his Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy. Again, this is all about staff training and awareness and we are proud to be playing our role in promoting this crucial aspect of the hospitality industry.