Police and partners work together to make Isle of Wight safer at night
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With Coronavirus restrictions set to be lifted on Monday 19 July, police and partners are preparing for increased numbers of people using clubs, pubs and bars and are working together to make customers safer – with an increased focus on tackling violence against women and girls.
Our aim is to respond to and challenge any criminal behaviours, in addition to making you feel safer on a night out, and ensuring that there are people you can turn to for support if you feel unsafe.
To achieve this, officers from Hampshire Constabulary’s Licensing Department will be teaming up with Neighbourhoods Policing Teams (NPT) and Isle of Wight Council to engage with venues and door staff, in order to help them spot the signs of someone who is vulnerable, being abused, or who needs help.
Teams will also be meeting with street pastors – a group of volunteers who will be out at night offering reassurance and practical help to anyone who needs it. More information about the role of street pastors can be found here: https://www.streetpastors.org/
We want to raise awareness across the Island criminal behaviour in the night time economy such as harassment, physical and sexual violence, and domestic abuse towards women and girls.
In addition, we are also working closely with You First and Hampton Trust, who provide specialist support to anyone affected by sexual violence or domestic abuse.
We encourage you to visit their websites to familiarise yourself with the support and services on offer.
Over the course of this week, we will be releasing information on our Isle of Wight Police Facebook and Twitter pages about the work we are doing, and what organisations are there to help you if you feel unsafe on a night out, or if you are a victim of crime and need longer term support.
Inspector Andy McDonald said: “After what has been a very challenging year for all of us, we know how much everyone is looking forward to enjoying a night out in the many fantastic venues we have across the Isle of Wight.
“Nobody deserves to feel unsafe at night, and everyone has the right to enjoy themselves safely and comfortably.
“Violence, sexual violence and harassment are offences that we simply do not tolerate in any setting. Being on a night out and having a few drinks does not excuse criminal behaviour.
“As we head towards the lifting of restrictions, our focus for the night time economy will be in part enforcement – whereby police will respond to and challenge any harassment and criminal behaviour reported to us – but also largely around partnership working to create a safer environment for people using clubs, pubs and bars.
“A key part of this is ensuring that women and girls in particular feel safe, have someone to turn to for support if they are affected by criminal behaviour and sexual violence, and also feel confident that they can get home safely after a night out.
“We will be working with licensed premises and door staff so that they know to provide reassurance to anyone who needs it, and also to educate them on spotting the signs of criminal behaviour and harassment, or anyone at their venue that needs help.
“Venues will be provided with information about the ‘Ask for Angela’ initiative, and we will also be promoting this on social media to make the public aware. Those venues using the Ask For Angela initiative will display a poster or sticker in their window so you know.
“So how does it work? If you are in a licensed venue and someone is making you feel threatened or uncomfortable, you can approach the bar and ask for ‘Angela’. Staff will then discreetly offer to separate you from the person who is causing you discomfort or distress, and ensure that you are able to leave safely.
“We encourage anyone who feels uncomfortable whilst on a night out to approach patrolling officers, street pastors, venue staff or door staff. If no-one is available and you feel unsafe you can call 101. Always call 999 in an emergency.”