A SCHEME set up to support pubs has been awarded for helping to reduce crime.

The Pubwatch scheme, Chelmsford City, has been awarded the prestigious Diageo National Pubwatch Award.

It recognises the scheme for its significant role working in partnership to reduce violence and night-time economy crime in the city by 45 per cent.

The scheme was also commended for its work to reduce the use of fake ID and allay fears about acid attacks by distributing ‘acid attack’ kits to member premises.

At a packed ceremony in the House of Lords, attended by MPs, Lords and notable names from the pub industry, Chelmsford City Pubwatch was crowned winner of the award.

Chelmsford City’s Pubwatch submission received praise across the board by the judges for its contribution to reducing violence and NTE crime in the city centre by 45 per cent.

The scheme represents 95 per cent of city centre venues working in partnership with the police to tackle key issues including reducing the use of Fake ID and allaying fears about acid attacks.

The Chelmsford scheme was described as without question the stand-out Pubwatch team.

In particular it was recognised for the work it has done on drug searching and seizures - having utilised a drug safe provided by Essex Police in order to meet legal obligations. This has led to a significant increase in drugs seizures in the area.

Also recognised as ‘highly commended’ at the awards were the Chester Pubwatch, which was lauded for its training and safeguarding work, and Wrexham Pubwatch, which the judges congratulated for the ‘Drink Less, Enjoy More’ campaign which focussed on refusing to serve drunks and training for door staff in the area to help them identify and protect vulnerable individuals.

Nick Halle, chairman, Chelmsford City Pubwatch: “Chelmsford City Pubwatch has forged an excellent partnership with Essex Police and other organisations and we work hard to provide our staff and customers with a safe night out.

“It’s great that our efforts have been recognised and I’m really proud to accept this trophy on behalf of our members.”

Steve Baker, chairman of National Pubwatch, said finalists showed schemes work extremely hard making licensed premises safe and secure.