COUNCILLORS in West Dunbartonshire have agreed to offer £12,000 to Police Scotland to help look after festive season clubbers and party-goers in Dumbarton and the Vale – after officials warned that a scheme run by the local authority was “not viable”.

Bosses at West Dunbartonshire Council (WDC) say that despite repeated attempts, no security firm has come forward with a bid to provide taxi marshals for any project.

A report put before the council’s corporate services committee last week recommended that money set aside to launch a replacement for the Night Zone West (NZW) scheme – which was started back in 2009, but axed in 2016 after Scottish Government community funding was cut – should instead be given to Police Scotland to support its own festive policing plan.

It says that £12,000 was allocated to a new festive safety scheme to replace Night Zone West, with £8,000 going to procure taxi marshals and £4,000 going to the authority’s communities team.

The report’s author, Peter Hessett, WDC’s strategic lead for regulatory and regeneration, said: “Despite involved and repeated efforts of officers there have been great difficulties in finding a contractor able and willing to provide taxi marshals.

“In relation to the provision of taxi marshals, an invite to tender was sent out timeously to all relevant providers who are included in the one Scotland Excel Tendering register.

“To date all providers contacted have either declined to tender, or have not responded to the invite.

“Given the problems, and also due to uncertainty in relation to Covid-19 it was the unanimous view of the group that a scheme in 2021/2022 was not viable.”

Cllr Ian Dickson, the committee’s vice-convener, said: “I welcome the decision to offer the funding for this project to Police Scotland as we have all too often had problems recruiting taxi marshals to work over the festive season.

“We know that Christmas and the New Year is traditionally an extremely busy time and we want everyone to enjoy themselves and drink responsibly while out in West Dunbartonshire. We all have a duty to look after ourselves and our friends when we are out.”

Cllr Iain McLaren, vice-convener, added: “We will ensure our licensing officers work with licensed premises and local police.

“During the festive period the normal police presence would continue to patrol busy areas and this money would enhance that provision and reassure people going out.”