Graffiti in the Commons  

4.4.2000

Edward Davey takes graffiti fight to the floor of the Commons

Edward Davey MP calls for tough new measures to combat graffiti during Commons debate

In a special Commons debate last week, Kingston MP Edward Davey demanded Ministers look at new measures to tackle graffiti, including a new package of tough sentences for vandals and age limits on the sale of spray paints.

Mr Davey praised the extra resources found by Kingston Council for cleaning up graffiti and criticised local Conservative councillors for opposing this clean up.

Speaking after the debate, Edward Davey said,
"Graffiti in Kingston has got so bad, I felt that I had to raise this dreadful problem on the Floor of the House."

"To beat graffiti vandalism we need a concerted effort - at national and local level. There is now agreement that new court orders now coming in force will at last give magistrates the power to punish offenders properly, by forcing them to clean up their mess."

"I was disappointed that the Minister rejected totally the idea of age limits on the sale of spray paints. However, he was more positive about my idea of issuing new guidelines to spray paint manufacturers and retailers, and said he would consider it in the light of the debate. "

"I have been concerned that Kingston Council has not been tackling this issue as actively as it should, so I have written to the Chief Executive highlighting the powers the Council has, and asking him for a report on how it is using them. If they aren't strong enough, I've asked him to let know. "

"Local Conservative councillors in particular appear to be talking tough in the papers yet failing to act."

Letter to:

Bruce McDonald
Acting Chief Executive
Guildhall
Kingston
Surrey
KT1 1EU
04 April 2000

Re: Section 12 of the London Local Authorities Act 1995

I have recently taken part in an adjournment debate in the Commons which focused on the growing problem of graffiti. As you will know, this is an issue I have raised with Kingston Council on several occasions.

I am keen to tackle this problem at every level, working in partnership, and I felt the debate was extremely useful in highlighting this at a national level.

During the debate, the Minister highlighted Section 12 of the London Local Authorities Act 1995. He explained that this act gave powers to local authorities to compel businesses and/or residents to remove graffiti from their properties.

I would be interested to know if Kingston has ever used this section of the Act? If it has could you send me a brief note of how often these powers are used and what guidelines are provided for officers when using these powers?

It would also be helpful to know, if in your officers' opinion, it empowers them with sufficient means to make a real dent in this problem. I am of course aware of the council's own clean-up activities, and I was delighted to see that the clean-up budget has been increased, thanks largely to Liberal Democrat councillors.

I do however find it strange that Conservative councillors, who talk tough about graffiti in the press, were opposed to extra resources for cleaning up graffiti.

I am more than happy to meet you to discuss this general problem and specifically the use of section 12 of the London Local Authorities Act 1995 to counter-act this growing tide of criminal activity.

Yours sincerely
Edward Davey MP

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