New radios have been given out to Darlington's businesses in a new scheme to help keep the town centre safe.

As part of the new Pub Watch and Shop Watch schemes launched by Darlington Borough Council (DBC), pubs and shops have been provided with radios to help ensure the town centre is safe for visitors.

This comes after the council's CCTV team has taken the running of the radio communications scheme in town, which aims to deter crime, shoplifting and anti-social behaviour.

The radios will allow businesses to inform the DBC's CCTV team about any anti-social behaviour, and this will be passed along police and the anti-social behaviour team as appropriate.

Councillor Mike Renton, said: “We’re working hard to support town centre businesses and to provide a vibrant, safe and pleasant place for people to work and spend their leisure time.

“The Pub Watch and Shop Watch schemes have provided a useful network to share information and help promote a safer environment for all, and with the busy festive period fast approaching we’re delighted to be able to strengthen and widen that partnership for the benefit of all.

“I’d also urge any businesses keen to find out more or who want to get involved to get in touch.”

Meanwhile, DBC said new radios have been issued, by Apex Radio Systems, to 27 shops, 30 licensed premises and 15 hospitality and leisure venues.

Adding to this, radios have also been provided to police, police marshals and Number Forty for free.

Venues have also received a training pack, containing information on what support is available from the CCTV team, civic enforcement officers and police.

Sergeant Matt Plumb, from Darlington Police, said: “The Pub Watch and Shop Watch schemes have proven to be vital in ensuring information can be shared quickly and efficiently between town centre businesses, CCTV officers, and the police.

“The radios allow us to be promptly alerted to any unfolding incidents or suspected offenders in the town, allowing us to respond quicker, making the town a safer place for all.”

Gary Yates, soft services manager at the Cornmill Shopping Centre, added: The Cornmill Shopping Centre is proud to be part of the Darlington Shop Watch scheme and has been a member since its inception.

“We continue to support the scheme and are delighted with the upgrade of the new radio system, which will allow the scheme to go from strength to strength.

"The scheme is a great example of the combined effort of a number of partners working together to help make Darlington a better, safer place to live and shop.”

The Pub Watch radios have been funded, until March 2023, by the Durham Police and Crime Commissioner’s office.