Sheffield BID has today launched a new scheme to help tackle incidents of graffiti in Sheffield city centre.
The BID’s ‘Bag A Tagger’ campaign has been created to encourage more people to come forward with information that could help with the identification, and potential prosecution, of individuals who are responsible for unsightly graffiti in the city centre.
The new campaign is being delivered in partnership with Crimestoppers, an independent charity that gives people the power to speak up to stop crime.
Through Crimestoppers people will be able to provide information anonymously which can then be passed onto South Yorkshire Police for review and investigation.
Graffiti is writing or drawings made on a wall or other surface, usually without permission and within public view. Graffiti can take many forms including tags, slogans and graffiti painting. Illegal graffiti is criminal damage. Every month, Sheffield BID will release details of new tags which are blighting our city centre walls. If you have information about who the tagger is or any accomplices they may have, you may be eligible for a reward of up to £200 if the information you pass on to Crimestoppers leads to a prosecution or community pay back through Restorative Justice.
Crimestoppers guarantees that everyone who contacts them – online or via 0800 555 111 – stays 100% anonymous.
Darren Hendleman-Horne, Operations Manager at Sheffield BID, said:
“We all know that a vibrant, cleaner and more attractive city centre environment is one that more people will want to visit and spend time in. Graffiti can be a real barrier to providing a truly welcoming city centre space. We want to send a clear message that graffiti is not welcome and that acts of graffiti are being actively monitored. We also want to remind those involved that, where it is placed without the owners’ consent, it is an offence that can result in a prosecution.
“If you visit, live or work in Sheffield city centre, you may well have seen Sheffield BID’s Clean Team in operation, providing our free graffiti removal service to BID levy payers that have had their premises affected. Graffiti is not a victimless crime and the costs involved for removing graffiti can run into hundreds, sometimes thousands of pounds and often requires the use of specialist equipment and chemicals to remove it from targeted properties. In some instances, the graffiti renders buildings permanently damaged.
“We hope this new campaign will act as a deterrent and we will be able to see an overall reduction in the volume of graffiti incidents. Whilst we appreciate that we will not be able to eradicate the problem overnight, we hope that if we can get some good information through to our partners at Crimestoppers, we may be able push back and reduce the impact of what is becoming an increasingly visible issue.
“There can be a number of reasons why a person may not want, or indeed be able, to come forward with information. By providing a cash reward with anonymity, we hope that more people will be empowered to come forward with the confidence to report what they see”.
The ‘Bag A Tagger’ initiative is also supported by South Yorkshire Police.
Gareth Thomas, Sheffield City Centre Neighbourhood Policing Team Inspector, added:
“Graffiti is often unreported yet is an obvious display of criminal damage. The costs of removing and cleaning the graffiti can be significant and can result in prison time for those individuals who commit this crime.
“The BID does a fantastic job alongside the Council of keeping our city centre clean, and making it a nice place to be for those who live, work, visit and spend time in the area. They are also delivering important work to regularly remove graffiti which is a blight upon our streets. However, graffiti should not be making it onto our streets in the first place, and that’s why we need the public’s help to identify those who are committing this damage.
“We are determined to pursue criminal charges against anyone who chooses to damage buildings and monuments with graffiti, and I want to take this opportunity to reiterate to the public of Sheffield that if you know anyone who is involved in graffitiing, please do either report it to us via Crimestoppers, or locally on 101. The help of the public is crucial in identifying those responsible.”
Information that is provided to Crimestoppers through the Bag A Tagger campaign will be passed to South Yorkshire Police for further investigation.
It is hoped that much of the issues involving young people can be dealt with through Restorative Justice and Community Payback.
For further information about Bag A Tagger and the latest featured tags visit: www.sheffieldbid.com/graffiti