Bradford BID has appointed a new team of 'Street Marshals' to help make the city centre a safer and more welcoming place to visit in the run-up to Christmas.

The marshals, who will be identifiable by their purple Bradford BID jackets, will start work immediately.

Business Improvement District (BID) chair Ian Ward said: “With the lifting of national Covid-19 lockdown measures, Bradford has moved into Tier 3 restrictions which means non-essential shops and others are being allowed to re-open.

“Businesses are also able to open for longer periods, which means many of them will be serving well after sunset, so we felt it was important to ensure that returning shoppers, customers and workers were given reassurance they can shop safely as they prepare for their festive celebrations.

“Bradford’s retailers and service providers have had a tough time with the Covid restrictions this year and they deserve as much support as people can give them. The last thing we want is for anybody to think they have to worry about shopping after dark when, in fact, the extended evening hours could be a vital lifeline for many shops.”

The marshals will patrol key central areas between 3.30pm and 8.30pm on weekdays and 11am and 4pm on Saturdays, until December 23.

Dave Downes, deputy manager of The Broadway and “Safe” Pillar lead for Bradford BID, said: “Our aim is to improve the whole visitor experience for anyone and everyone who comes into the city centre as we head into the festive season.

“The marshals will provide a presentable and highly professional meet-and-greet service to visitors to the core retail areas and they will be expected to be friendly and helpful at all times.

“But they are also our eyes and ears on the ground to reassure residents and visitors alike that, despite these difficult times, they can go about their Christmas shopping without concern.”

Mr Ward added: “If everybody behaves in a considerate, safe and socially-distanced way, we can still have a fantastic time in the city centre, with our better-than-ever Christmas lights as a brilliant backdrop.

“The very welcome Government extension in opening hours should mean that everyone can shop at a more relaxed pace and there is no need for anyone to feel at risk from overcrowded retail premises."

As well as helping, guiding and reassuring visitors, the marshals will keep an eye out for any low-level anti-social behaviour, liaising with the police, Council wardens and others.

The team of marshals is being provided by the BID’s approved contractor, Controlled Space, a Leeds-based company that was founded 18 years ago and has delivers security, stewarding and crowd management.

Its clients include Bradford City Football Club and Bradford Council.