NORTH Ayrshire could be set to start licensing window cleaners after advice from Police Scotland.

This would make it a criminal offence to carry out the trade without the say so of licensing chiefs.

Proposals will be discussed at the next meeting of the Licensing Committee on Wednesday, January 10.

At present, window cleaners do not need a licence in either North or South Ayrshire, but do in East Ayrshire.

Chief Inspector Brian Shaw asked that NAC consider licensing window cleaners.

He said: “Window cleaners have by the nature of their business opportunities to gain access to premises without necessarily drawing much suspicion and they should therefore be trusted individuals and fit and proper people to have that kind of access. I am not sure whether we can say we have that assurance currently as no checks would appear to take place.

“I think this could be viewed as a similar position to taxi drivers who do go through a process and are accountable for their actions to the board ultimately.”

Police say that over the past 12 months there were 17 alleged offences committed by people who gave their occupation as a window cleaner.

Offences include housebreaking (two offences), theft from motor vehicle and fraud, possession of drugs (three offences), serious assault (three offences, one involving carrying an offensive weapon), shoplifting, road traffic offences, drinking in public, stalking and indecent communication, culpable and reckless conduct, drink driving and an abusive behaviour offence (against a rival window cleaner).

Many trade activities under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 are covered by the “Optional Provisions”, which means that the activities including taxi or private hire drivers, only require a licence if and when the council so resolves.

When the 1982 Act was commenced the then Cunninghame District Council adopted nearly all of the ‘optional provisions’ - the only exception being window cleaning.

The committee has been invited to make a resolution at the next meeting proposing “that from and after Sunday 23 December 2018, Section 43 of that Act shall apply, so that a Window Cleaner’s Licence shall be required for carrying on the trade of, or being employed as, a window cleaner.”

If the committee decides to make the proposed resolution next week, there will be a 28-day consultation period.