The Home Office has given Merton Council new powers to tackle graffiti as part of a new offensive on anti-social behaviour that was launched last week.
As part of Operation ‘Scrub-It’ Merton Council will now be able to clean up graffiti on ‘street furniture’ such as phone boxes and railway bridges and charge back the cost to the owner if they have not removed the graffiti in a set time given by the council.
Operation ‘Scrub-It’ is part of the Government’s ‘Together’ campaign, which will equip local councils, police, housing officers, environmental health officers and others with the tools they need to deal with anti-social behaviour. Neighbourhood wardens in Merton will be among about 500 schemes across the country to be equipped with free anti-graffiti toolkits by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. The kits will enable neighbourhood wardens to remove graffiti covering an area bigger than two football pitches. As the eyes and ears of local communities, wardens are ideally placed to spot graffiti as soon as it appears and take quick action to remove it.
Councillor Linda Kirby, Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Environmental Quality said, “We are committed to tackling the problem of graffiti in Merton and welcome our involvement in the new pilot scheme. It will enable us to clean up graffiti from places like phone boxes and charge back the cost to the owner if they have not removed it themselves. This will help us to keep Merton clean and green, without the tax payers footing the bill.”