Under the initiative, anyone that feels vulnerable or unsafe can approach bar staff and ask them for 'Angela' to signal that they need assistance due to another person’s threatening actions, words, or behaviour. They will be taken aside, or to a safer location, so they can speak to that staff member in confidence about what assistance they need.
Bar staff will not need specific training for the scheme, just an awareness of what to do when someone gives them this signal.
Reduce sexual violence
The Metropolitan Police's Licensing Team, which is co-ordinating the scheme, said the aim is to “reduce sexual violence and vulnerability” when people are socialising.
Officers will soon be delivering posters, advertising the service to participating venues throughout the capital. The idea is to place the posters in the toilets to be discreet.
Inspector Wayne Matthews, from the Met’s Central Licensing Team, said: “This is a simple, yet effective, scheme which empowers members of the public to seek help if they are feeling vulnerable, by allowing them to raise their concerns with staff.”
Matthews continued: “It may be that they are in the company of someone who is not what they seemed and they want to get away safely and with minimum fuss.
“This initiative will facilitate this and hopefully prevent situations from escalating into something more serious. Of course, where scenarios do develop we know bar staff will contact police to attend the scene and deal in the usual manner.”
The initiative – originally launched by Lincolnshire County Council – has already proved successful following a Metropolitan Police pilot in the borough of Merton before Christmas. More than 50% of venues in the borough have signed up with more joining all the time.
Options available to staff include:
- offering to call a taxi for the individual
- contacting their friends or family
- requesting that an individual causing the distress leaves the venue