Ask for Angela

by Jonathan Kearney

A new initiative has been launched in Knowsley to help women and girls feel safer on a night out in our town centres.

Women who feel harassed, intimidated, unsafe, vulnerable or threatened can approach hospitality staff and ‘Ask for Angela’ to alert them that they need help.

Bar, restaurant, taxi companies and security staff in Huyton Village Centre and Prescot and Kirkby Town Centres have been taking part in a training programme inducting them into the Ask for Angela initiative.

The Ask for Angela code-phrase will alert trained staff that the person is in need of support and assistance. This might be through reuniting them with a friend, seeing them to a taxi, or by calling venue security and/or the police.

A Knowsley Council spokesperson said: 

“Ensuring the safety of our residents is a major priority for us and something we are continually working towards. Sadly, we know that women and girls in particular can feel vulnerable and at risk of harm. Often that is even more so the case at night when they may be out and about socialising in our town centres and communities.

“Although we are not experiencing any particular issues with violence against women in our town centres, recent high-profile national cases have brought these dangers into sharp focus for us all, so securing Home Office funding and delivering this training and campaign is great news for Knowsley.

“The Ask for Angela training allows us to tackle the issues head on and work with Merseyside Police, local businesses, community groups and others, to ensure women and girls in our borough feel safe as they go about their day to day lives.”

Last year Knowsley was awarded almost £190,000 from the Home Office, to fund a project that will improve the safety of women and girls at night in the borough.

This funding was used to ensure additional policing resources are in the area, specifically during the evening in Huyton Village Centre, Prescot and Kirkby Town Centres, where there is a growing night-time economy.

Superintendent Karl Baldwin, Knowsley Local Policing, said:

“Women and girls have the absolute right to feel safe, in every circumstance, without exception. Too often this is not their reality, particularly on a night out. Together with our partners, Merseyside Police is determined to make our streets safer. Women and girls deserve to live their lives without fear, harassment or any form of abuse.

“As part of Knowsley’s Safety of Women at Night project there is an increased police presence in Huyton Village, Prescot and Kirkby Town Centres at peak times. If you have any concerns, need help or need to report something, please speak with them. Alternatively you can report an incident of sexual violence, anonymously if you wish, via the Merseyside Police website or by calling 101. In an emergency you should always call 999.”