Lancaster pubs have signed up to the ‘Ask for Angela’ campaign to promote safe dating.
Police have teamed up with pubs in Lancaster to encourage anyone on a date who may feel uncomfortable or unsafe to ‘Ask for Angela’.
It is an innovative campaign aimed at people meeting in person for the first time after making contact through online dating.
Customers can use the non-descript phrase to gain assistance from staff in order to be separated from the company of someone with whom they feel unsafe.
Trained staff will then take them to a safe room where they can explain their issue and get a taxi, friend or family member to pick them up.
The employee can then tell the other person to leave or call police if they believe a criminal offence has occurred.
“Whilst the majority of people who partake in online dating are likely to be decent and genuine, there are also untruthful people posing as someone else, fraudsters and in extreme cases, sexual predators,” said PC Andrew Taylor, Licensing Officer for Lancaster and Morecambe.
“We hope this scheme will give people the confidence to know if something goes wrong on their date and they are left feeling unsafe, they can tell someone and get home safely.”
“Lancaster has a well-deserved reputation as one of the safest and most welcoming places for visitors from across the county to come and enjoy,” said Tim Tomlinson, chair of Lancaster Pub Watch, a voluntary organisation set up to promote best practice in pubs.
“Lancaster is such a popular place to visit precisely because the members of Lancaster Pub Watch work together and alongside the police to make sure we keep the trouble makers out of the city centre and to look after customers if and when they may need help.”
It is hoped the initiative will be rolled out in Morecambe in the coming weeks.