Published: 00:01, 12 July 2018
| Updated: 10:00, 12 July 2018
"We are going to find them, and we will prosecute them."
That's the stark warning to graffiti vandals as the city council forms a special taskforce to crack down on the social menace.
Staff have been redeployed to monitor CCTV cameras and collate evidence on the city’s most prolific taggers.
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It comes amid fears the council is struggling to deal with an increasing amount of graffiti across the district.
Cllr Neil Baker, the chair of the council’s community committee, has promised the local authority will “find, prosecute and hopefully get vandals through the courts”.
“I think some of the taggers don’t realise just how good the CCTV coverage is,” he said.
“I’ve seen some of the footage, which we will release and we will build up an evidence base to stand up in court if we have to.
“A lot of the graffiti is done by a handful of people and we will be building up records if they can see the same people doing the same thing.”
When a member of the CCTV monitoring unit sees an act of graffiti taking place, they will notify the police and council enforcement officers.
If they have the time and location of an incident, they will try to track down the footage.
“It’s about ensuring we catch the people,” Cllr Baker continued.
Cllr Baker continued: “The council’s done a lot of good work with fly-tipping recently and that’s got better. We’re focusing on graffiti because it’s become an absolute blight on the area.
“It’s getting beyond a joke; it’s a complete mess. It’s not just in urban Canterbury, it’s happening on the coast as well.”
The measure is part of growing efforts by the council to crack down on graffiti.
The council has released footage of four people in relation to the Deryk, Newt, DMF, MCR, TMK and Waldo tags sprayed across the city.
Head of safer neighbourhoods, Doug Rattray, said: “If a member of the public spots a vandal in action, please call the police, who will coordinate with our CCTV control room in an effort to catch the offender.
“Alternatively, if you know who is responsible for causing so much misery in the city, please contact us in confidence.
“This particular group of offenders have a lot of tricks up their sleeve to evade detection so we really need the public’s help.”
But Cllr Nick Eden-Green doubts the authority will be able to prevent and deter further acts of vandalism.
He said: “There are CCTV cameras all over the place, but generally speaking there are only two operators on duty at a time. They can’t follow all of the cameras.
“Having a CCTV camera doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to get graffiti stopped.”
“The fact that immediately under a camera in the Riding Gate subway is some offensive graffiti, which has been there for three months, confirms that.”
Cllr Eden-Green also urges the council to mount a “blitz” on graffiti across the district or risk losing tourists.
At last Wednesday’s meeting, council officer David Ford said the budget allocated to Serco to address the “prolific” amount of graffiti is “inadequate”.
Anyone with information is urged to phone 01227 655027 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
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