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REMOVING RACIST GRAFFITI MUST BE A PRIORITY, COUNCILS TOLD

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Hansard 26 June: Column 624 ...
Hansard 26 June: Column 624

Home office minister Lord Bassam promised to investigate whether anyone had been prosecuted for racist graffiti and to urge local authorities to make the removal of racist and other offensive graffiti a priority.

He was replying to Liberal Democrat Lord Dholakia who asked whether any prosecutions had been brought for racist graffiti under the Crime and Disorder Act. He also wanted to know whether the home office gave any help to local authorities to ensure such graffiti was removed as

quickly as possible.

Lord Bassam said: 'As a matter of priority, I would always urge local authorities to remove racist and other offensive graffiti. I shall undertake to investigate whether specific prosecutions have

been brought in relation to racist graffiti. I find it the most appalling form of graffiti and I am sure that that is a view widely shared...The noble lord asks a very useful question and I shall take

steps to follow it up'.

Earlier, replying to Labour's Lord Randall of St Budeaux - who said the damage caused by graffiti was a disgrace to the nation - the minister said the Criminal Damage Act 1971 potentially had

very high penalties for criminal damage in the form of graffiti. Where the damage was more than£2,000, the maximum penalty was 10 years' imprisonment for those aged 18 and over and up to two years' detention in young offenders' institutions for those aged 15 to 17. However, there were no precise statistics on graffiti.

'We believe that the best action is taken by the police, local authorities and voluntary sector organisations working together to counter graffiti with local graffiti-buster squads and by ensuring

that we detect the crime where we can. It is extremely difficult to do that because by its very nature, the way in which graffiti manifests itself means that it is difficult to track down the perpetrators', said Lord Bassam.

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