Volunteers invited to join graffiti clean-up
EXETER cleansing bosses are working with police in planning a major offensive against graffiti.
There are plans to launch a pilot project in two city wards, which could see community associations provided with special kits so volunteers can clean off the paint.
Complaints from residents have been increasing.
Robert Norley, the city's assistant director for environment, said: "We want to encourage communities to play a part in tackling and deterring graffiti.
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"We want to engage the community because if it is apparent that it is the community looking after an area, perhaps the perpetrators will be less likely to be active there."
The council is seeking funding from the city's Crime and Disorder Partnership for the cleaning kits.
Mr Norley said: "It will be cleaning materials suitable for domestic use, and we are not saying we are just handing graffiti cleaning over to volunteers.
"Instead it would be an initiative similar to litter picks we help residents with when Denis the Dustcart goes along – cleaning graffiti tags from a house wall or gate, and so on."
The city council is also about to launch a campaign against graffiti on Facebook.
Mr Norley said: "It is going to be called The Writing is on the Wall and the most troublesome and prolific tags will be featured as we try to encourage anyone with information about the tags or taggers to contact us."
The city council is also looking at producing packs for householders detailing how it can assist and advise in removing and preventing graffiti. It currently makes a charge for graffiti removal unless it is racist or offensive.
Mr Norley added: "Graffiti causes criminal damage and is a criminal offence – it is not just a little bit of fun and can land the perpetrator in hot water.
"It is not a victimless crime, and it is very costly to deal with – often its removal is not covered by someone's household insurance. Also it can make an area look run-down."
If the pilots are successful they will be extended to other areas. Meanwhile, city councillor Richard Branston has been successful in getting funding from the Exeter Canal and Quay Trust to help with graffiti removal on the Quay.
Cllr Branston said: "The trust has given £250 towards cleaning the graffiti down there. The trust is very keen to encourage more events to be held there."
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