Reported incidents of anti-social behaviour in Blackburn town centre dropped by half in 2017.

Members of the Blackburn town centre Business Improvement District heard at their annual general meeting that the BID funded, Blackburn Businesses Against Crime Initiative won more awards in 2017 and recorded a 50 per cent drop in the reported number of incidents of anti-social behaviour in the town centre.

This was attributed to work with the council’s Community Safety Partnership team, additional BID funding for two Police Crime Support Officers working in the town and targeted private security at key times.

Two new members were also introduced to the Blackburn BID executive board at the meeting.

Hannah Allen, chief executive of Blackburn Youth Zone and Eileen Murphy, brand ambassador for McDonalds were elected on to the committee responsible for delivering the five year plan for the Business Improvement District on behalf of members.

Chair Nicola Clayton, from Blackburn College, told members Blackburn BID’s social media streams increased by 46 per cent last year and that the feeds now have the largest combined following of any BID in the Northwest.

She added: "The additional planting and maintenance scheme funded by the BID continues to illicit praise and appreciation each summer with the wonderful planters which are organised and looked after by the town centre green spaces team. "Their hard work was acknowledged by the regional and national judges in the Britain in Bloom awards when we were awarded gold medals by the Royal Horticultural Society."

Other achievements included an enhanced Christmas programme of events including a fire garden outside the cathedral and the production and distribution of a town centre visitor guide.

BID manager, Harriet Roberts said the challenges for the new BID Board will include consulting with members and delivering a voting campaign for the BID to be renewed for another 5 years term at the end of 2018.

Ronnie O’Keefe, Soft Services Manager at The Mall and manager of the Blackburn Businesses Against Crime initiative was recognised with a ‘Be Surprised’ award for his dedication to the town centre, his support for the town centre events and hard work in helping to reduce crime, fraud and anti-social behaviour across the BID area over the last 12 months.