A SCHEME to help men and women at risk of sexual violence is being rolled out across North Yorkshire.

Ask For Angela has been in use by forces around the country since it was launched in 2016, and is aimed at helping people on a date or who have met someone at a pub or bar and feel unsafe.

By going to the bar and asking staff for 'Angela', bar staff will help the individual leave discreetly, either by taxi or by phoning a friend or family member to help them get away safely without the other person being made aware.

The scheme will be spread across North Yorkshire in coming weeks, with the assistance of Pubwatch and licensing authorities across the region, who have all agreed to support the scheme.

Temporary Detective Superintendent Allan Harder, head of safeguarding at North Yorkshire Police, said the scheme would be a benefit to anyone meeting someone new in public.

He said: "Ask for Angela is a really important initiative to ensure that support is provided to anyone who finds themselves feeling uneasy in certain situations.

"Dating has changed as a result of the wide use of dating sites and social media apps, so it is crucial that anyone who feels intimidated or unsafe because of the actions of the person they are with, can access help quickly and discreetly. Often, people on dates in pubs or other licensed premises are meeting people for the very first time face to face, and this can leave people feeling very vulnerable, or worse, at threat from harm. I encourage anyone who intends to meet someone for the first time to meet in busy, crowded places, tell a friend or family member where you are going and do not disclose too much personal information with anyone which could threaten your safety – such as your home address. If you do find yourself in a situation where you feel unsafe then speak to a member of staff at the venue and ask for Angela at your earliest opportunity."

Offences should still be reported to police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.