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Getting bouncers on the doors may be an issue “we can’t resolve”

The chair of West Dunbartonshire’s licensing forum says he is worried that getting bouncers on the doors may be an issue “we can’t resolve”.

Paul Smith was speaking at a recent meeting of West Dunbartonshire Council’s corporate services committee.

Members were discussing the difficulties of a festive safety scheme which cannot go ahead this year due to lack of security cover.

Mr Smith said: “There is a lack of security guards going around.

“Those that were involved in the night-time economy and hospitality, during lockdown, have moved onto other security issues and have decided that they don’t want to come back to work in the evenings.

“Across the whole of the UK, it’s nigh on impossible to find security guards who and wanting to work on doors in hospitality and it was difficult to be able to find security guards to be able to do the taxi queues pre-Covid. That problem has only now exacerbated.

“I am very concerned that that may just be an issue that we can’t resolve.”

The Lennox Herald previously told how the successful Night Zone West scheme which involved employing taxi marshals would not go ahead this year as there was a lack of interest and response from possible contractors.

Members of the committee last week opted to hand £12,000 to Police Scotland for additional resources over the party season.

But Mr Smith said he would like to see the project reintroduced in future.

He said: “This has been running very successfully in the area for many years.

“It’s a partnership amongst many agencies safety among other things on the streets of Dumbarton, Clydebank and Balloch over the festive period.

“Those of us who are out there and see what it is like in real-time know just how useful a project it really is.

“It’s something we would wish in normal times to see running again.

“We are all aware that Covid has changed many things in all of our lives over the past 17 months and trying to find a way how we may be able to deliver it this Christmas is proving very difficult.

“One thing that is insurmountable is trying to find security people to do it this year.”

Mr Smith explained that he felt it was “unlikely” that there would be a nightclub open in Dumbarton over the festive season.

The Lennox Herald reported how G82, formerly Cheers, was to shut having only been trading for 10 nights since being allowed to reopen in August. Owner Stephen Sunnucks said he had “had enough” after the announcement by the Scottish Government that nightclubs would require to carry out Covid passport checks from October 1.

Mr Smith also said that another pub, believed to be The Clipper, had shut in Dumbarton and was unlikely to reopen meaning there was less of an attraction in Dumbarton town centre.

Councillor David McBride, who represents the town, explained that any enhanced festive safety measures should take into account the fact that people would be enjoying hospitality earlier in Dumbarton before potentially moving onto house parties, Balloch or elsewhere.

He said: “If Dumbarton doesn’t have a late night economy, to some extent that possibly makes the earlier night-time more problematic because there will be a concentration of people at 1am looking for taxis either to go home or to Balloch.

“It could actually be exacerbated because there will be far more people looking for taxis at 1am rather than that being spread out from 1am until 4am.”

Members agreed to hand the cash to the police with Peter Hessett, Chief Officer of regulatory and regeneration describing how conversations would then take place between police and the authority on where best to use the resources.

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