National Pubwatch gave its annual award to the Nottingham City scheme and praised it for years of work in helping the city to turn around bad headlines about its nightlife.
The city faced problems in 2007 when media reports claimed it had high levels of crime but the work of Pubwatch volunteers helped it to recover, according to the organisation.
The scheme has worked closely with a leisure business improvement district (BID) and the local authorities for the past several years.
It was praised for its introduction/support of crime prevention projects, including the increasing access to defibrillators and special medical kits for use in knife attacks.
Judges also noted the scheme’s willingness to provide specialist training to large numbers of people and the support it has given to its local street pastors organisation, including an annual contribution of £2,000, who help vulnerable drinkers.
Nottinghamshire Police chief inspector Donna Lawton joined in the lauding of the city scheme and said it had helped support the health of the city centre’s nightlife.
She said: “Since working within the city centre, I have seen numerous innovative ideas and suggestions stem from the Pubwatch group. All of this has supported a healthy and vibrant city centre.”
The awards event was sponsored by JD Wetherspoon and is now in its eighth year.
Reading and Pontypridd’s schemes were ‘highly commended’ for their safety campaigns.
Judges chose to reward the Reading scheme for encouraging its members to introduce a full searching policy as a condition of entry, in response to concerns about knife crime.
They also praised the Reading organisation for its adoption of an Ask for Angela campaign and work to safeguard vulnerable people.
National Pubwatch chairman Steve Baker said: “Pubwatch schemes continue to demonstrate that they play a very positive role in local partnership working.
“I would like to congratulate all our finalists for the contribution they have made to the safety of the night-time economy.”