A CRIME-fighting partnership in Newport city centre has won a national award.

More than 70 businesses in the city are members of Newport Business Against Crime Partnership (NBACP), including stores ranging from Iceland to Wildings, with many bars and restaurants also part of the scheme, run in partnership with Gwent Police.

Bruce Brown, co-ordinator for NBACP, said the aim of the partnership was “to make Newport a safer place to visit, work and shop”.

Under the scheme, which businesses pay to join, members receive a radio system on which they can communicate with all other businesses in the partnership, with police officers also having a set.

Another tool used is to distribute pictures of known troublemakers to all members so they know who they need to be wary of. Mr Brown explained: “It’s about trying to make it more difficult for thieves by co-operating with each other.

“For example, if somebody is a known shoplifter and you see him near your store you can get on the radio and alert everyone.

“That information isn’t much use if none of your staff has a clue what Bruce Brown looks like, so we distribute the pictures to make sure people know who we might be talking about.”

The group celebrated receiving a national Safer BusinessAward on Wednesday.

The award, presented by the Association of Business Crime Partnerships, is a sort of kitemark for good practice in tackling crime. Sally Ford, the manager of Wildings and chairwoman of the group, said: “We’ve been part of the scheme for three years and we have definitely seen a difference.

“Being in a department store we work with a lot of other people but some business only have two or three staff so it can feel quite vulnerable. It has definitely given our staff more confidence.”

Bob Thompson, neighbourhood policing inspector for Newport city centre, and a member of the group’s board, said: “It is clear that this relationship and initiative have been instrumental in the reductions of crime and anti-social behaviour that we have witnessed.”