Street art could soon catch your eye instead of graffiti

Graffiti found in the underpass in Waterworks Lane, Wellingborough which runs under Niort Way to Hardwick Lane, Wellingborough
Graffiti found in the underpass in Waterworks Lane, Wellingborough which runs under Niort Way to Hardwick Lane, Wellingborough
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The fight to find those responsible for images like this daubed on walls, underpasses and buildings is ongoing.

But while the crackdown on graffiti continues, there’s a new challenge to work with those wanting somewhere legal for their street art.

Graffiti found in the underpass in Waterworks Lane, Wellingborough which runs under Niort Way to Hardwick Lane, Wellingborough (Op Illustration)

Graffiti found in the underpass in Waterworks Lane, Wellingborough which runs under Niort Way to Hardwick Lane, Wellingborough (Op Illustration)

PCSO Phil Wane is the officer behind Operation Illustration, which aims to reduce graffiti-related anti-social behaviour.

The initiative started in Wellingborough last July, when PCSO Wane noticed one graffiti artist who had become a scourge in the area, before being rolled out countywide in April.

PCSO Wane said: “Operation Illustration is going great at the moment, probably a lot better than I envisaged. Graffiti is a massive problem countywide.

“I want to encourage people to report it, I’m always looking for new hotspots.”

While mapping the locations of graffiti and tags, PCSO Wane has met talented artists who want a legal wall.

He said: “People have said to us ‘why are you wasting your time on graffiti’ but we are not.

“Street art is what I want to encourage, it is where young artists can show how talented they are.”

Social media has helped spread the message about Operation Illustration, and PCSO Wane is in negotiations over two legal walls in Wellingborough, with other locations being identified across the county.

But he said: “Young people and groups have more power than I have as one person. They can speak to the councils and the county council.

“Back me up and I will back them up, saying we would like some money for this. Then I can go to community funding streams who regularly have pots of money to fund community projects. It’s about getting that spark of interest from people.”

He added: “Northamptonshire is a pretty vibrant, buzzing county and I’d like to get more people coming here because it’s a centre of art, a centre of excellence in the Midlands and the UK.”

Graffiti or street art?

PCSO Wane thinks 70 per cent of graffiti is offensive and 30 per cent is eye-catching.

He wants to turn this round and provide county artists with a legal wall.

All offensive graffiti should be reported to the police and to your local council.

Graffiti can be reported by calling the police on 101, search for Operation Illustration on the force website at www.northants.police.uk, via @Op_Illustration on Twitter using the hashtag #NameThatTag or through the force’s Facebook page.

Any interest in a legal wall can be registered via Twitter.