Stevenage pubs have led the way in bringing the ‘Ask for Angela’ scheme to Hertfordshire as publicans came together to show their support.

The scheme encourages people who feel unsafe in bars or other venues to get help from staff on duty.

Anyone on a date or meeting someone for the first time in a club, bar or restaurant – that supports the Ask for Angela scheme – can get help simply by asking staff to speak to ‘Angela’.

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.

Neighbourhood Sergeant Martin May said: “We have been very fortunate that most of our publicans have given this scheme their full support and now that they have seen it really does work, are keen to publicise it further in the run up to Christmas.

“The scheme not only 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, but it provides the venues with 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.”

In Stevenage more than 20 pubs and bars signed up to the scheme, which is also supported by the local Pubwatch scheme.

James Creighton, head of Stevenage Pubwatch and owner of Harry’s Bar and the Taste Bar and Grill, added: “We were keen to support any scheme which helps keep our customers safe.

“The scheme was put into action in my pub soon after it was introduced and my staff were able to make sure that person got home safely.

“It has also provided extra training for all venue staff on recognising vulnerability and dealing effectively with those that may need assistance and we are happy to give it our full support.”

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

Stevenage venues wanting to take part should contact Licensing Officer Gill Akroyd at Stevenage Police Station – 01438 757370 or for further information and literature for staff.