Ask for Angela campaign to make nightlife safer rolls out across London

A campaign to help those feeling vulnerable on a night out is being launched across London as nightlife re-opens after the pandemic, with plans to expand the initiative nationally.

The Ask for Angela scheme is being introduced by the Metropolitan Police, the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and Safer Sounds (part of the Safer Business Network) to venues across London.

So far, hundreds of frontline staff from London venues have been trained since the start of August.

The code-phrase comes from the US-originated campaign encouraging those who feel unsafe to ask for an “angel shot” but was simplified to asking for Angela when started in Lincolnshire in 2016. In the same year it was adopted by the Met as a localised initiative.

When a person asks for “Angela”, trained staff will know they feel uncomfortable or threatened and will then look to support and assist them. Staff may reunite the person with a friend, call them a taxi, or alert venue security or the police.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Jane Connors told PA that while the Ask for Angela campaign has been around for a while, the partnership is “re-invigorating” it.

She said: “As clubs re-open now, there have been over 350 venues that have had the training and about 500 to 600 staff which is a really positive step.”

Ms Connors added that while “violent crime and targeting people has not risen to the levels that it was at pre-pandemic”, the aim is to “prevent incidents from happening”.

Ian Graham, chief licensing officer at the Met, said the campaign is a “partnership” and not “the Met telling venues to do this”.

He said: “This isn’t a Met scheme per se, this is a partnership between ourselves and the industry. The Met is there to support the businesses but the frontline will be the businesses.”

Phillipe Chiarella from Safer Sounds said there are plans to expand the scheme nationally.

He told PA: “Our intention is to expand the campaign outside of London after a short evaluation. We want to make sure it’s alright with venues.

“We’ve done consultations but we want to make sure it’s hitting the ground and it’s making the right noises but we’re already talking to forces up and down the country about adapting the assets and training.

“It’s a given that when people haven’t been partying for 18 months, they are potentially not going to know their limits. We need to support businesses to be able to deal with those issues.”

Venues that support Ask for Angela will also have been given or offered Welfare And Vulnerability Engagement training delivered by the Met’s licensing officers and Safer Sounds.

The training educates staff on recognising vulnerability and how they can best offer help in various situations. Venues will also receive Ask for Angela posters and digital media assets to display in their premises where vulnerable people may be able to access them and know help is available.