A campaign to tackle graffiti – and associated anti-social behaviour and criminal damage – has been launched by police.
Operation Illustration is the brainchild of a police community support officer (PCSO) in Wellingborough, Phil Wane, whose work with the safer community team in the town has involved tracking graffiti writers and bringing offenders to justice.
Phil’s work in Wellingborough is now being replicated by PCSOs in other parts of the county in a bid to help tackle a problem that raises the perception of the prevalence of anti-social behaviour and criminality.
And from next month, there will be opportunities for members of the public to #NameThatTag from images displayed on the force website and the social media sites, Facebook and Twitter.
Phil hopes that encouraging members of the public to #NameThatTag will bring in more information about those responsible for graffiti writing.
He said: “There is a clear link between areas of graffiti and anti-social behaviour such as littering and drinking and a perception that young people ‘hanging around’ are causing trouble.
“Graffiti is defined as ‘writing or drawings that are scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on a wall or other surface in a public place’ and graffiti writers use spray paint, stickers, stencils and pencils to mark their territory.
“There is almost an acceptance that graffiti is a way of life, that it won’t go away, that there is little point addressing the problem.
“There is a clear impression that nobody cares and we have to address that if we want to make the areas where we live safer and more pleasant places to be.
“We have to work more effectively with our partners to tackle the problem and by taking an education and enforcement message into our schools and out to a young audience via social media.”
The campaign - which can be followed on Twitter @Op_Illustration - aims to bring in more information about graffiti and increase detections and community resolutions around anti-social behaviour.
Information can also be sent to Northamptonshire Police via the email address OpIllustration@northants.police.uk