Ask for ‘Angela’ has now been rolled out to all bar and security staff at Belsonic. The Police Service of Northern Ireland alongside Belsonic and EventSec are assuring festival goers that they ‘do not dance around the seriousness of predatory behaviours.’
Ahead of the upcoming festival season in Belfast; Belsonic, EventSec and the Police Service of Northern Ireland have joined forces to create a safer environment for all. All bar and security staff at the events are now trained in the ‘Ask for Angela’ safeguarding initiative. This means that if any festival goers feel unsafe or uncomfortable at any time throughout any of the upcoming events, they can ask bar or security staff for ‘Angela.’
Under the scheme, they are being trained that anyone who asks for ‘Angela’ may be using a code to indicate they need help. The initiative was introduced by the police service across Northern Ireland in December last year and in the first six months, over 350 local venues have signed up. It is hoped that by asking for ‘Angela’, a person within a licensed venue can quickly alert staff and get help. Staff will then take the customer to one side and find out more about the support they need.
They can then help reunite them with a person they trust, make sure they get into a taxi safely, call security to remove who is causing distress, or contact police. Now, the Police are expanding this initiative out to local festival and events scheduled across Northern Ireland this summer, including ShoreFest and Botanic Gardens Live who have already adapted and implemented the initiative at their events last weekend. AVA festival will be joining Belsonic this weekend in doing the same.
Chief Superintendent David Beck said:“Those who are heading out to enjoy the music and other festivities this summer, we want to ensure that you do so safely, which is why it is so important that we are continuing to work closely with event organisers such as Belsonic to expand ‘Ask for Angela’ into these spaces.
“Everybody should be able to attend local festivals and cultural events this summer and feel safe. Unfortunately we know that that is not always the case due to a small minority of those who target vulnerable people with predatory behaviours.
“Now, if someone does feel unsafe or particularly vulnerable, they can ask for ‘Angela’ and the security and bar staff around them will be equipped with the training to intervene and help.
“Our officers will be supporting this safety initiative with increased patrols in and around the event. Uniformed and plain clothed officers will be proactively looking out for predatory behaviours and safeguarding anyone who may appear as vulnerable.
“Local district policing teams have also incorporated tackling violence against women and girls planning into the consideration of all local events, including ‘designing out crime’ with considerations on lighting, enhanced CCTV and security placement at the toilet areas etc. We’re committed through our Tackling Violence against Women and Girls Action Plan to do all we can to safeguard the vulnerable and target perpetrators, and that is what we intend to do this summer and beyond.”
Belsonic this weekend is set to welcome crowds in their thousands as they return to the idyllic setting of Ormeau Park, Belfast. The popular music festival will bring a host of international headline acts to the heart of Belfast City Centre across the month of June 2023.
Joe Dougan, Belsonic Promoter, said:
“Customer safety has always been a key focus at Belsonic, and we are pleased to work alongside The Police Service of Northern Ireland and EventSec, with the ‘Ask for Angela’ safeguarding initiative, to ensure we can offer the safest possible space within which to enjoy these world class musical acts.”
Andy McGowan, Quality & Compliance Manager, from EventSec, said:
“EventSec Ltd are pleased to support the Police Service of Northern Ireland with the ‘Ask for Angela’ initiative. Over the summer months EventSec will provide security staff at all major events. Our staff have received training in the initiative and will also be briefed at each event. Event goers can now have confidence that if they get into difficulty at an event, EventSec staff can help them if they ‘Ask for Angela’.”
Even more local venues are being asked to register for the scheme via the Hospitality Ulster website here: https://hospitalityulster.org/askforangela. You do not need to be a member of Hospitality Ulster to access the training.
Chief Superintendent Beck added:“Neighbourhood Policing Teams are out and about at this time, encouraging as many local businesses as possible to sign up. We know our hospitality sector is already committed to keeping people safe, by signing up to this scheme they are making a public pledge to help and support their customers when they need them the most.”
To find out more about the Ask for Angela initiative in Northern Ireland click here:https://www.psni.police.uk/AskForAngela