The Durham branch gained glowing endorsements from police for promoting its Best Bar None award scheme, which encourages responsible management.
It helped train licensees, bar staff, and door staff to clampdown on violent and disorderly incidents.
Andy Hughes, chairman of Durham Pubwatch, said: “It's a real team effort from all of the licensees and it's great for us to be recognised for the work we put into improving all aspects of the night time economy.
“Pubwatch allows licenced premises to make a real improvement to the safety and enjoyment of staff and customers, improving footfall and business for everyone, whilst lessening the demand for already stretched emergency services.”
Three students died of drowning in a river in Durham since 2013, and judges said they were impressed by the Pubwatch’s response.
It teamed up with the City Safety Group to improve safety around rivers by introducing volunteer warden patrols by river banks.
Mark Baird, head of alcohol in society at Diageo, said: “Durham is a shining example of the valuable work done by Pubwatch schemes to create safer drinking environments across the country.
“The on-trade sector plays a vital role in bringing local communities together. Everyone should be able to feel safe and enjoy themselves when they go out for a drink or a meal with friends or family which is why we continue to support schemes designed to create the friendliest and safest possible drinking environments in all licensed premises.”
The awards were presented at the House of Commons last night (22 Oct).