Ask for Angela: Patron safety program launched in Bathurst pubs

ASK FOR ANGELA: Bathurst MP Paul Toole and Superintendent Paul McDonald (centre) with Bathurst Liquor Accord members Liam O'Hara, Robert Taylor, Rebecca Mathie, Scott MacAllister and Peter Heffernan. Photo:CHRIS SEABROOK 082818cangela1
ASK FOR ANGELA: Bathurst MP Paul Toole and Superintendent Paul McDonald (centre) with Bathurst Liquor Accord members Liam O'Hara, Robert Taylor, Rebecca Mathie, Scott MacAllister and Peter Heffernan. Photo:CHRIS SEABROOK 082818cangela1

A SAFETY campaign aimed at helping anyone who feels threatened in a licensed venue has been launched in Bathurst.

The ‘Ask For Angela’ campaign, which began in the UK and has since been rolled out in Sydney and the Central West, is a joint initiative of the Australia Hotels Association and NSW Police, brought to Bathurst through the city’s Liquor Accord.

The internationally recognised  program, which originated two years ago in Lincolnshire, England, is when a patron at a licensed premises “asks for Angela” at a participating venue. The code-word triggers a response from trained staff who will discreetly escort that person to safety or contact authorities.

Bathurst Liquor Accord president Robert ‘Stumpy’ Taylor said the accord discussed the merits of the program at this month’s meeting and, having decided to support the campaign, said it would be running before the start of the Bathurst 1000.

He said the accord had previously run a similar idea in Bathurst a few years ago.

“About four or five years ago there were a few drink spiking incidents and we used a similar idea,” he said.

“At the time it went well, it was just a safety net for people to use, to have in the back of their minds, to know they can go and ask for help if they felt they needed it.”.  

Having taken the program on board, Mr Taylor said 20 licensed venues across Bathurst would now be part of the initiative, which he said will provide a safety net for patrons of local pubs and clubs.

Bathurst MP Paul Toole described it as a “modern approach to a modern issue”.

Countdown to the Bathurst 1000

“With the growing popularity of online dating, many people are meeting for dates at bars, clubs and pubs having never met, beyond the screens of their phone,” he said.

The roll out of the program in Bathurst will be supported by posters, coasters and small cards, which can be placed in bathrooms and other areas in local venues.

Mr Toole said the posters and advertising material could also help deter unwanted behaviour.

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