In April’s Newsletter (Issue 215), Graham Smith’s article Attention to detail - does it matter? Yes! drew attention to the potential impact that sub-standard repair and installation work has upon the town streetscape. He gave examples, with photographs in some cases, of paving repairs, pothole repairs and the erection of street signs and bollards.
Graham’s article prompts me to raise the issue of graffiti, and I am not talking about street art, but untidy tagging and mindless, sometimes offensive, scrawls and sprayings. It certainly detracts from the streetscape. It is vandalism, and is classed as criminal damage. It costs money to remove, but leaving it in place may encourage more graffiti. It does not make our town look good.
Ipswich has a Graffiti Team which quickly respond to reports of graffiti on public property – that is, property owned by Ipswich Borough Council (IBC) also highway signs, lamp-posts and the like. This service is available to private individuals, although there may be a charge depending on individual circumstances. Offensive graffiti is removed very promptly. The Graffiti Team has specialist equipment.
There is a fair amount of street furniture in private ownership. Apart from post-boxes, there is a large number of, often, green cabinets in place on our pavements owned by fixed and mobile telecommunications providers and other utilities. Unfortunately, their smooth surfaces can provide an ideal ‘canvas’ for graffiti. The owners have a responsibility to clean off any graffiti, but it is often difficult for members of the public to identify the owner and report it. Even if you do identify the owners and manage to contact them, some are better at arranging a clean-up than others.
Ipswich Borough Council has enforcement powers, so, if the graffiti is reported to IBC in the first place, as well as being able to identify the owner and advise that a clean up is required, it will log any report and make sure that it does actually take place. If IBC does not know about the graffiti, it can hardly follow it up. The Graffiti Team cannot clean up these street cabinets and similar street furniture itself, unless there is a formal agreement in place with the owner.
Graffiti can be reported by:
1) telephoning Ipswich Borough Council – Cleaner Ipswich on 01473 433000;
2) via the online Report it! tool on the IBC website. Visit https://my.ipswich.gov.uk/en and then click on Report It followed by Report Graffiti. You can attach photograph(s).
Don’t assume someone else has already reported it!