By Kevin Ward, manager, Newport Now Business Improvement District

PERHAPS the most visible of the services delivered by Newport Now Business Improvement District for our members are our ambassadors.

Our blue-uniformed ambassadors began work in the city centre almost three years ago and have become a regular sight on the streets of the BID area since then.

Matthew Kimber and Gawain John are our two regular ambassadors and are on patrol from noon to 8pm Monday to Saturday and from noon to 6pm on Sundays.

Their role is to provide a visible and reassuring presence in the Newport Now BID area daily, liaising directly with businesses, local authorities, the police, other agencies, city centre workers and visitors.

The ambassadors’ role is to prioritise visitors and help users of Newport city centre.

They also help reduce crime and anti-social behaviour, provide reassurance and assistance in dealing with the fear and threat of crime, and help make the BID area a safer and more welcoming place in which to live, work, visit and do business.

Christmas Day and Easter Sunday are the only two dates in the calendar when the ambassadors are not on duty.

They provide daily reports to the BID’s manager, ensuring that any issues or problems can be picked up and dealt with quickly.

Part of their role is to visit at least five BID Levy payers every day, making sure businesses are happy with the service being delivered and checking whether they have any problems, often with crime or anti-social behaviour.

The BID ambassadors work closely with the police, PSOs and council wardens and have a direct radio link with the city’s CCTV control centre.

Although they have no formal powers, they help stores to detain shoplifters pending the arrival of the police and move on aggressive beggars.

But they are not glorified security guards, spending lots of their time providing directions to visitors or helping the elderly or people who have been taken ill in the city centre and are waiting for an ambulance.