Hertfordshire scheme launched to tackle sexual offences in social venues

PUBLISHED: 13:12 08 December 2017 | UPDATED: 13:12 08 December 2017

Hertfordshire scheme launched to tackle sexual offences in social venues.

Hertfordshire scheme launched to tackle sexual offences in social venues.

Archant

A Hertfordshire-wide scheme has been launched to help tackle sexual offences taking place in social venues.

Anyone on a date or meeting someone for the first time in a club, bar or restaurant that finds themselves in an uncomfortable situation can get help by asking staff to speak to ‘Angela’, thanks to the ‘Ask for Angela’ scheme.

Staff can then assist the person in leaving the venue discreetly and getting home or to a place of safety.

This could mean calling a taxi for them and making sure they get in it safely.

The scheme, which was first introduced in Lincolnshire, was piloted in Stevenage earlier this year.

It was welcomed by venues in the town with more than 20 pubs and bars signed up to the scheme. It is also supported by the local Pubwatch scheme.

Hertfordshire Constabulary is now encouraging venues across the county to get involved.

Stickers and posters will be distributed through Pubwatch schemes in each of the districts and boroughs.

Sergeant Scott Carter, project lead for the force, said: “The benefits of the scheme are twofold.

“It gives people who are meeting someone for the first time in a pub or bar – such as on a first date – the confidence to ask for help from venue staff if they feel unsafe.

“Maybe the person isn’t who they said they were on the dating website where they met or are making them feel uncomfortable.

“For the venues, it provides an opportunity to discuss with their staff how to respond to people who ask for help or who might be vulnerable because, for example, they have drunk too much.

“The aim is to avoid at an early stage an uncomfortable situation turning into a sexual offence later on.”

Posters and stickers will be displayed in discreet locations inside participating pubs, bars and restaurants.

Participating venues will also be promoted on the Herts Police webpage www.herts.police.uk/ask-for-angela.

Venues wanting to take part should contact their local licencing officer for further information and literature for staff.

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