Canvassing and Campaigning Click the link below for a downloadable card offering some personal safety tips to keep yourself, your staff and volunteers safe while campaigning and canvassing during the general election. General-Election-Advice_credit-card.pdf Canvassing Safety Prepare Look confident Avoid risk Never assume it won’t happen to you Prepare Ensure you have a ‘buddy’ and they know the estimated time and route of your round. Ensure they have your contact number and that you contact them when you have finished or if your plan/route changes. Have a procedure in place for your buddy to activate if you cannot be contacted, including contacting your next of kin and taking other steps to locate you such as contacting your organiser. Consider carrying a personal safety alarm, which can be used to shock and disorientate an attacker giving you vital seconds to get away. If available, consider carrying a lone worker device which can be activated if you need to call for external assistance covertly. Have an alert system in place to raise the alarm with colleagues, such as making a phone call to ask them to check the ‘red file’ if you need immediate assistance. Always have a charged phone with your organiser/buddy’s number and the numbers of at least two other canvassers in your area. Avoid carrying valuable items such as laptops. Look confident Where possible canvass in pairs or groups. This may mean working opposite colleagues in a street but always in sight and sound of each other. Plan your canvassing route. If on foot, look confident as you travel. Google Street View is particularly useful for identifying landmarks in an unknown area. Act to avoid risk and danger Try to use well-lit routes. If canvassing when it is dark consider carrying a torch. If you do have to pass higher risk areas, consider how you would respond if you felt threatened. Keep your mind on your surroundings. Avoid distractions such as your mobile phone or headphones. Whenever possible, walk facing oncoming traffic. If you think you are being followed, trust your instincts and take action. Act confidently, cross the road, turning to see who is behind you. If you are still being followed, keep moving. Head to a busy area and tell people what is happening. If you believe you may be in danger, call the police – DIAL 999. Never assume it won’t happen to you Never enter a stranger’s house, even when invited. Always remain on the doorstep and out of arm’s reach. Ensure you have a clear exit. If someone is aggressive or confrontational do not engage; politely end the conversation and leave that address. Report this to colleagues so they avoid same situation. Have a list of excuses prepared to help you leave any situation quickly. Beware of dogs even when they appear friendly. Dogs are territorial by nature and if they feel they need to protect their family, they can become unpredictable. Trust your instincts. Do not knock on a door or enter a garden or driveway that you feel uncomfortable about. What to do if you feel unsafe? ReLATE Remain calm. Leave the environment if you feel at risk, informing your campaign manager or buddy that you are changing your plan. Alarm: If someone will not let you leave, or is threatening aggression, set off your alarm next to their head to disorientate them, drop it to the floor and get away from the aggressor. Tell someone what has happened as soon as you can. Emergency; in this situation always call the police, and let someone know what's happening.