Call for Aberdeen taxi drivers to join in Ask for Angela scheme

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A councillor has suggested a campaign to help Aberdeen pub staff keep revellers safe be extended to taxi drivers.

Aberdeen City Council launched the Ask for Angela campaign in March 2017 to help people who feel uncomfortable or unsafe during a night out.

People can approach the bar, ask for “Angela” and be assisted by staff who understand it is a codeword.

They might be ushered to a back room or alternative exit or called a taxi.

A Police Scotland report presented to the council’s public protection committee at a meeting yesterday said: “This initiative has been successful in the north-east and has been rolled out nationally.”

At the meeting, Councillor Gordon Townson asked police representatives: “Given the success of this campaign, do you think it would be feasible to extend it beyond licensed premises to taxis, to provide other people that anyone feeling uncomfortable could approach?”

Chief Inspector Martin Mackay replied: “Yes, I think there is worth in the scheme and worth in extending it to other areas of licensing.”

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However, Ch Insp Mackay said it was important the existing Ask for Angela campaign is improved.

He added: “We have got some work to do with the scheme, looking at whether those taking part need to be refreshed or reminded.

“The pub and club trade have a high turnover of staff and, as a result, the awareness of it isn’t quite what it should be at times.”

Ch Insp Mackay said he was keen to work with Unight – a partnership of pubs and clubs aiming to make nights out in the city safe – to reinvigorate Ask for Angela so it can be improved and potentially extended.

A total of 25 city bars joined the scheme in the first year and it was rolled out to cover Aberdeenshire and Moray last September.

Speaking previously, Licensing Inspector Kenny McGeough said: “Should anyone feel uncomfortable about a situation they are in and need support or assistance to leave, I would urge them to approach a member of staff and Ask for Angela.”