Norwich police are cracking down on graffiti taggers
On day four of the Evening News' Graffitibusters campaign PETER WALSH looks at how police have launched a crackdown to target the rising number of taggers spoiling this fine city.
Those responsible for blighting the city with their graffiti tags are being targeted as part of a new police crackdown.
The City Centre Safer Neighbourhoods Team (SNT) has vowed to treat graffiti as one of its priorities over the next few months.
Members of the public are being urged to be the eyes and the ears of the police and help supply them with information about those responsible for spraying the tags. As part of the crackdown Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) have been carrying out an audit of graffiti tags in the city to establish where the worst affected areas are – and who is responsible.
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Inspector Chris Brooks of the City Centre Safer Neighbourhoods Team said as a result of the audit they have discovered a number of taggers at work in the city – including Shook which has become an increasingly common sight.
Tags commonly found in the city centre include ATS, ACAB, ANOYS, SNIZ, TIMS, SPY, PEG, PEGLLEG, HALO, XPN!, QUIR and SHOOK.
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Insp Brooks said there are 'prosecutions pending' against people believed to be responsible for graffiti tags found in the city, but added that they need support from the public in catching offenders in the act.
He said: 'We don't need to be told where it is because the audit by PCSOs has been done over the past six weeks and we will address them one at a time. What we would like to know is if anyone has any information regarding suspects.'
In addition to being a problem in the city centre, Insp Brooks said there were other tagging hot spots on the outskirts of the city, including places like Earlham Road and Dereham Road.
Julian Foster, chairman of the City Centre Safer Neighbourhood Action Panel, said as it has been adopted as a priority, more resources will be put into trying to solve the problem of graffiti over the coming months.
He said: 'As a priority it provides us with a window in which we can use police resources legitimately to deal with all this and that's why we want to get together with the public in terms of donations of paint and offers of help to help paint out graffiti.'
Mr Foster said graffiti may well stay on as a priority beyond the next few months, depending on whether it has been deemed to have been dealt with or it remains a concern for people in the area.
In addition to wanting information about possible suspects police and the SNT are also looking for people to help clean up some of the existing graffiti by donating paint, money for paint or their time.
Volunteers are needed to take part in the first clean up date which takes place on Wednesday, June 15 at Tombland, near the toilets. Protective clothing will be provided but volunteers for the event, which takes place between 6pm and 9pm, are advised to wear old clothes. Insp Chris Brooks said it will be followed by further events on June 22 and 26 and July 3 with venues and exact times yet to be decided.
Sergeant Peter Sharples of the City Centre Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) said the campaign has had support from a number of members of the public who want to see less graffiti in the city.
He said: 'I think most people when you ask them would prefer to have an environment which isn't polluted with graffiti. There's places where people can express themselves – the council does provide various places – and with negotiation that could happen elsewhere.' Sgt Sharples said the damage that was done to buildings as a result of graffiti was unacceptable and hoped to help clear it off and keep it off for good as part of a series of clean-ups, starting with the event at Tombland. He added: 'Once we've done it we will keep on going back, get people to paint it out and look after their own city centre.'
To see why not all graffiti is anti-social see tomorrow's Evening News.
Have you got a story for the Graffitibusters campaign? Call Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Have you got a picture of graffiti? Email email@example.com
Graffiti doesn't have to be anti-social – find out how in tomorrow's Evening News.