Birkenhead’s Business Improvement District has launched its first initiative today aimed at helping local shops and cutting crime.

The "Birkenhead First" steering group has appointed three "Town Hosts" to welcome and direct visitors to find the town's "hidden gems."

They will be the public face of the BID, ensuring the town is clean and tidy and will act as a highly visible deterrent for anti-social behaviour.

The hosts will be supported by the Wirral Against Business Crime initiative, an established programme to reduce the impact of crime on local businesses.

The Birkenhead First team will focus on encouraging people to visit more often, stay longer and invest more in the town centre.

It will also work with all business sectors to enhance the overall experience for town centre visitors, shoppers and workers alike.

The recruitment of the Birkenhead First team follows months of work in securing a BID initiative for the area by Birkenhead businesses and Wirral Chamber of Commerce, who will manage the initiative.

Paula Basnett, the chamber's chief executive, said: “Today marks the culmination of more than a year of work by local businesses to introduce a Business Improvement District.

"Birkenhead First is committed to bringing footfall back to the area which add quality and benefits to the visitor, business and retail economies.

"The initiative has the backing of businesses throughout the BID area, so together we can really can make a change.”

Throughout the year there will be a full calendar of events to support businesses in the area and bring Birkenhead back into the public eye in a positive way.

A full programme is being organised which will include a launch for the town’s businesses on April 27 at Birkenhead Town Hall.

It will also promote a diverse range of other events aimed at bringing footfall back to the town centre, such as a guided tour of some of the town’s most haunted spots at the "Birkenhead Buggens Night" on June 9.