The Ask for Angela initiative has certainly caught the public imagination and many local Pubwatch schemes have played their part in promoting its aims and objectives. The Ask for Angela poster has been downloaded over 7,000 times from the NPW website and we have supplied many hundreds of hard copy posters direct to local Pubwatch members.
However, we have received a small number of complaints from people telling us that the initiative is only focused on helping female customers and that we are in some way ignoring the needs of men and the LGBT community, who may also face problems in the night time economy.
Firstly, we need to say that the National Pubwatch does not own the Ask for Angela initiative. We just happen to think it’s a very clever way of highlighting the issue of customer safety and we do not think that changing the name of the initiative or designing parallel initiatives such as ‘Ask for Peter’ will in any way make the night time economy safer. In fact, it might only serve to create confusion, both for customers and staff alike.
The term ‘Ask for Angela’, does obviously feature a female friendly name; but it is purely a ‘trigger’, which is meant to prompt a positive response from pub staff. And that positive response should be the same, no matter what the gender or vulnerability of the customer. For example, a male customer who is being subjected to bullying or threatening behaviour should be able to ‘Ask for Angela’ and be confident that he will receive the same level of support and care as a female customer.
We urge all operators in the pub and hospitality sector to have appropriate policies for dealing with all vulnerable customers and that staff have received appropriate training. In saying this, we do not wish to underplay the specific problems which women may suffer, particularly those related to domestic or sexual abuse and violence. NPW works to support all Pubwatch members to create safer drinking environments and the safety of customers and staff comes on the top of our list.