With the festive season underway, Knowsley Council is working closely with Merseyside Police, the hospitality sector, taxi drivers and security staff to help women feel safe and have an enjoyable time when out during the evening in Huyton, Prescot and Kirkby. Together they agree that women have a Right to the Night.
Sadly, we know that women and girls can feel vulnerable when socialising, or travelling alone to and from school or work, and often this is even more so the case at night. Recent high-profile national cases have brought these dangers into sharp focus.
Knowsley was recently 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.
Particularly in the run up to and during the festive period, the funding will be used to ensure additional policing resources are in the area, specifically during the evening in Huyton, Prescot and Kirkby where there is a growing night-time economy. If someone feels harassed, intimidated, unsafe, vulnerable or threatened they are urged to speak to a police officer who can help ensure their safety and tackle the person or people causing concern.
Cllr Shelley Powell, Knowsley Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods said:
“All women and girls have the right to enjoy themselves and feel safe at night-time. Whether that be on a night out or simply walking from A to B – they all have a right to the night.
“This additional investment will allow us to provide additional resources and offer a reassuring presence. We will continue to 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.”
In the new year work will start on a training programme for bars, restaurants, taxi drivers and security staff in Huyton, Prescot and Kirkby, inducting them into the Ask for Angela safety initiative.
People who feel harassed, intimidated, unsafe, vulnerable or threatened can discreetly seek help by approaching venue staff and asking them for ‘Angela’. This code-phrase will indicate to staff that they require help with their situation and a trained member of staff will then look to support and assist them. This might be through reuniting them with a friend, seeing them to a taxi, or by calling venue security and/or the police.
Cllr Shelley Powell, Knowsley Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods continued:
“The Ask for Angela scheme is a discreet way of women finding help when they feel threatened, and it is great news for Knowsley that we have this service on its way. While we are not experiencing a significant problem with violence against women in our town centres and villages, it is important to provide this level of support for women enjoying our night-time offer.
“Please keep an eye out for a wide-ranging campaign in the new year that will let you know when the scheme is in place.”
Superintendent Phil Mullally, Knowsley Local Police commented:
“We are committed to ensuring the safety of women and girls and already carry out operations aimed at preventing violence and sexual violence across areas of Merseyside with a night-time economy.
“During the festive season you will see an increased presence of police officers in Huyton, Prescot and Kirkby town and village centres, particularly at weekends and evenings. If you have any concerns or wish to report an incident, then please speak with them. Alternatively, you can report an incident of sexual violence via the Merseyside Police website or by calling 101. In an emergency you should always call 999.”
If you have been affected by sexual assault/ and or abuse or rape support and information is available from the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre on 0151 218 7960 or 0330 363 0063, or visit www.rapecentre.org.uk/