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How city council tackles Norwich's graffiti menace

PUBLISHED: 06:30 07 June 2011 | UPDATED: 12:10 09 June 2011

Graffiti and vandalism to the old Bennetts shop on Kings Street, Norwich.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Graffiti and vandalism to the old Bennetts shop on Kings Street, Norwich. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2011

Graffiti might seem like an insignificant problem to some, but as well as looking unpleasant it costs a huge amount of time and money to try and remove.

Norwich City Council receives between 400 and 500 reports of graffiti a year with the council spending more than £1million a year on cleaning the streets of Norwich, which includes tackling graffiti.

A spokesman for Norwich City Council said: “Removing graffiti around the city costs a significant amount each year, which is money that could be spent on making improvements to other services.

“It is disappointing that some people feel the need to spoil the city for everyone else, by carrying out illegal graffiti on public and private property, especially when we provide areas where we allow people to do this legally.

”We would encourage anyone who witnesses graffiti being carried out to call either the council or the police so that the case can be fully investigated.

“We are really reliant on the public to report incidents to us so we can act as soon as possible in the most appropriate way.”

The current protocol means that the city council removes graffiti from council property and public areas.

Offensive or racist graffiti will be dealt with within 24 hours of being reported, and usually on the same day as the report is received, while all other graffiti will be removed within 14 days of the report being received.

After receiving reports of graffiti the city council’s graffiti removal team, contractors working on behalf of the authority, will assess work to decide on the most appropriate form of removal.

This could be painting over the graffiti, using a special chemical to dissolve it (provided the surface underneath is not damaged), or pressure washing.

The service does not extend to privately owned buildings, meaning the onus falls on the private homeowners or local businesses themselves to find an appropriate cleaning contractor to remove the graffiti.

But this is where it is hoped the Graffitibusters campaign might be able to help. The Evening News, working together with Norfolk police, the Norwich City Centre Partnership (CCP) and with the support of Norwich City Council, wants to eradicate graffiti from the streets with the support of the public.

We need people to come forward and offer their help – be it financial or in terms of time – to beat the city’s graffiti problem.

The campaign has been backed by Julie Westmacott, right, city council cabinet member for neighbourhoods and environment, who said anything that can highlight the issues and opportunities for people to “get involved and make a difference” should be welcomed.

Emily Capps, environmental protection officer at Norwich City Council, said: “We are happy to be working with the Norfolk Constabulary and the city centre SNAP to tackle graffiti in Norwich.

“Tagging is generally unsightly and can attract further antisocial behaviour. Our graffiti removal team works hard to remove graffiti throughout the city. To further combat the issue we have set up successful partnerships with the Youth Offending Team and Virgin Media to provide resources, and are always keen to explore other opportunities.”

Anyone caught carrying out acts of graffiti will be issued with a fixed penalty notice of £80.

To see what has been done to combat graffiti in the city in the past see tomorrow’s Evening News.

Have you got a story for the Graffitibusters campaign? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

Have you got a picture of graffiti? Email picdesk@archant.co.uk

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