Published on 9th February 2024

Town Centre East before and after

Young aspiring artist helps to paint over tagging

The council’s neighbourhood team, civil enforcement officers, and police worked in partnership to carry out a successful community resolution exercise, which saw a young individual help to paint over tagging at Town Centre East car park.

The young individual (who cannot be identified for legal reasons) was found by the police while carrying out the offence of criminal damage - Section 1 of the Criminal Damage Act 1971 and also admitted to other locations.

During the community resolution exercise, the young individual painted over a large section of offensive tagging done by other groups in the car park, saving the council and taxpayer close to £2,000 in costs to have this completed by a contractor.

Cllr Martin Horwood, cabinet member for customer and regulatory services, said: “While street art can be wonderful, criminal damage in the form of graffiti is not acceptable. Graffiti can have significant financial costs and negatively affect local communities.

“The council works constantly with other partners to reduce unwanted graffiti in Cheltenham, and I hope that this community resolution exercise has shown this young person the impact of their actions and that it will deter them from repeating such behaviour again in the future.”

Sergeant Steve Benbow, of Cheltenham Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We work closely with our partners to tackle criminal damage such as this.

“Restorative justice is one option we can use that, in some circumstances, can have a lasting positive impact on both victims and offenders.”

Sam Robinson, neighbourhood team supervisor, said: “This is a positive result of our joint effort with partners to tackle graffiti in our town. By engaging with the young individual, we offered them an opportunity to learn from a mistake and understand the impact their behaviour had.”

Report graffiti online or call 01242 262626 or on social media @CBCEnviroHealth.

For media enquiries, contact: communications, telephone 01242 264 231, email [email protected].


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Community resolutions provide an opportunity for the police/local authority to deal with appropriate low-level offences and offenders without recourse to formal criminal justice sanctions. This could include a simple apology, an offer of compensation or a promise to clear up any graffiti or criminal damage.

There are a wide variety of forms and styles of graffiti, of which the authority recognises six basic categories:

1. Juvenile – generally takes the form of “x loves y” type messages or lists of first names. They are usually written with felt-tip or marker pens.

2. Tags – stylised personal graphic identifiers depicting names or nicknames, which are often large and in bold colours. Tags can be pictorial, drawn free hand or using stencils, and are usually painted with spray cans or drawn with marker pens.

3. Scratches – marks caused by the deliberate use of a sharp instrument to cut into painted surfaces, wood, plastic, brick etc. However, if these scratches form words, then they should be classified as ‘juvenile’ or ‘tags’ as appropriate.

4. Ghost – graffiti which has been partially removed or has faded to such an extent that it is has lost its initial visual impact.

5. Contentious – any graffiti which could be offensive to particular members of the general public. This would include any obscene, racist, political or religious graffiti.

6. Stencil – any graffiti which has been sprayed through a stencil, unless it is deemed that it forms a ‘tag’.