Anti-social behaviour is the biggest threat to our communities, here in Clydebank and far beyond.

People’s lives are disrupted. The peace to live in your own home is challenged. It has become like a runaway juggernaut, showing no sign of stopping.

At last Wednesday’s full council meeting Labour colleague David McBride put forward an excellent motion on the issue, highlighting a real cause for concern and showing the real problem we have in tackling anti-social behaviour.

In 2017-18 the council budget for tackling the issue was £719,000, and there were 312 cases dealt with. Three years later, in 2020-21, the budget had been reduced to £398,000 and the number of cases had increased to 987.

The budget for 2021-22 increased slightly to £446,000, but before we reached halfway through the financial year, the number of cases reported to the council had reached 551, indicating they will reach 1,000 before next spring.

Add to those numbers the fact that due to staff reductions, only three anti-social behaviour officers are on duty on any given day, and the reason behind the failure to effectively tackle anti-social behaviour in our communities becomes glaringly obvious. You cannot reduce budgets and staff in the face of an ever-increasing problem and expect positive results.

Those working within the anti-social team did not come in to the job to do nothing. They came in to help and assist our communities. They work tirelessly to try and resolve issues, but when you are being constantly strangled by lack of funds and resources, they are left trying to stem an ever-growing tide with ever decreasing tools to do that. This must stop.

Our communities deserve better, and our officers deserve better. When the report on David’s motion comes back we need to act, and act quickly. Whatever it takes, we as a council must act, because this cannot go on. It is a community scandal, and frankly shambolic. The time to act is long overdue.

On Friday last, we officially opened our award-winning district heating system at Queens Quay, though it has been up and running for several months now.

This is a giant step towards addressing fuel poverty in Clydebank and providing affordable heating for all.

It must be expanded all across Dalmuir and beyond. We cannot let it stop at Queens Quay and its immediate surroundings. We must ensure that the immense savings to be made from the system are used for the advantage of all, not just the few. We have a great opportunity here, and we must use it to make sure we do not fail those in greatest need.