People urged to report ‘mindless’ graffiti blighting historic city buildings
- Credit: Denise Bradley
People are being urged to report graffiti amid a surge in ‘tagging’ that has seen some of Norwich’s most historic buildings defaced.
Lockdown has seen a steep rise in spray painted tags on city centre buildings including churches, historic flint walls and street furniture.
Police have made the problem a neighbourhood policing priority after city councillors in Mancroft and Thorpe Hamlet raised the issue following a rise in the number of complaints.
Increased patrols in worst affected areas including Pottergate, St Benedict's, Colegate and St George’s Street have seen a number of people arrested, including someone suspected of being behind some of the most common tags.
Mancroft city councillor Martin Schmierer, who was the Green Party candidate for Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner, urged police and council to work together to tackle the problem as the city prepares to open up to summer visitors.
He said: “It breaks my heart, as someone who studied history, to see the side of historic churches, Georgian or even earlier buildings being defaced.
“We welcome police making it neighbourhood policing priority but it is important people report it to both the police and council.”
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He said city centre residents and businesses were being left “deeply frustrated” at the costs of repeatedly removing graffiti or repainting walls.
“Too few report it as criminal damage due to confusion over whether it is anti-social behaviour or criminal damage,” he said.
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Councillors are calling for more public art spaces and murals they believe offer an outlet for street artists and discourage more unsightly graffiti.
“There is a big distinction between a graffiti artist down in the West Pottergate underpass or under the Magdalen Street flyover who actually spends time doing an urban form of art and the defacing of churches or historic buildings,” said Mr Schmierer.
Sgt Chris Clay, of Norwich East Safer Neighbourhood Team, added: “We are keen to direct people in the direction of designated graffiti walls because the art you see there has had a lot of care and attention poured into it unlike the type of tagging we are seeing that is just a random, mindless scrawl on a wall that takes seconds.”
Graffiti should be reported using the online form on the city council’s website