Graffiti vandals clean up their act
Four young people responsible for two separate spates of graffiti in Newark have avoided criminal charges by participating in a restorative justice arrangement.
Newark and Sherwood District Council is working in partnership with Nottinghamshire Police to take a zero tolerance approach towards vandalism and the responsible culprits.
The council, through its Cleaner, Safer and Greener campaign, has been working hard to combat anti-social behaviour and to instil a greater sense of pride in towns and villages across the district and graffiti has become an increasing problem in Newark in recent weeks.
The newly daubed graffiti was discovered around the Winthorpe Road area of Newark. Police Community Support Officer Andrew Mighall, who covers the Bridge Ward, identified a number of young people responsible and co-ordinated a restorative justice arrangement to deal with both incidents.
Restorative justice is designed to provide an opportunity for the police to deal with appropriate low level offences without going through formal criminal justice sanctions, which could result in a young person thus having a criminal record for what could be a momentary lapse of judgement.
In both cases, the young people were asked and agreed to remove either their own graffiti, or graffiti in a specific nearby spot if that was not possible.
Councillor David Lloyd, leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council said: “The vast majority of the people of Newark and Sherwood take great pride in our towns and villages and as a council we invest significant resources in striving to maintain a clean and safe environment.
“Not only does this type of vandalism create eyesores in our streets and neighbourhoods but every pound spent on getting rid of graffiti in the district is a pound less towards services that have a much wider public benefit.”
Inspector Heather Sutton, district commander of Newark and Sherwood police, said: “Graffiti is a blight on the community and can contribute to a ‘broken windows theory’, which states that visible signs of crime and anti-social behaviour, such as graffiti, create an environment that encourages further crime and disorder.
“Dealing with such crimes by way of restorative justice can be very impactful for the offenders as it helps them take ownership and do something positive to fit back into their community. The impact on other offenders is also more significant when they see the work these young people have had to do to put right their wrongs. This is the long term problem solving we are working towards and I am proud of the way the young people involved responded.”
PCSO Andrew Mighall said: “In these particular cases the young people admitted their part in the graffiti and agreed to remove it. However, it is not just young people responsible for the recent spate of graffiti in the area and my feelings are this was cases of young people just copying what other people had done.”
Walls, bridges, traffic bollards and other locations across Newark and Balderton have also been spray-painted with sprawling ‘UDC’ tags, which are likely to be committed by the same individual or group.
The council is urging local residents to come forward if they witness any anti-social graffiti in action, or have any information that could lead to identifying the perpetrators, including the tagger responsible for more than 20 pieces of “Candy Shop” graffiti across Newark town centre.
To report incidents, please contact the police on 101, Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or Newark and Sherwood District Council by contacting 01636 650000.