Leeds graffiti offences not a priority, say police

Tagging in Headingley and Hyde ParkLDRS

Cracking down on graffiti across Leeds is not a police priority, the city’s district commander has said.

Concerns have been raised about a rise in tagging in areas including Headingley, Hyde Park and Woodhouse.

Supt Steve Dodds told a council meeting on Thursday he had to concentrate his resources on tackling violent crime and abuse.

He said police did investigate graffiti crimes, but said these offences were “resource intensive”.

Councillors in Headingley, Hyde Park and Woodhouse said the issue was widespread in their wards, but elected members in areas such as Farnley and Wortley, Kirkstall, Wetherby, Cross Gates and Pudsey have also complained about the practice.

At Leeds City Council’s environment and communities scrutiny board on Thursday, Supt Dodds was asked if he could give a “commitment to prioritise” tagging, the Local Democracy Service reports.

Superintendent Steve Dodds said tagging was not a police priority

LDRS

He told councillors: “I think we need to get into balance where the priorities and resources need to go.

“All of my deployments and my focus is based on vulnerable victims and where the most harm, threat and risk is, which is why I’ll always deploy officers to issues such as knife crime, domestic abuse and serious sexual offending before we look at prioritising graffiti and other forms of criminal damage.”

He said that though neighbourhood policing teams do follow up on graffiti offences, they are “resource intensive” in terms of bringing the criminals to justice.

He added: “Yes we do look at it. Is it going to be one of my biggest priorities?

“Unfortunately, I can’t say it is because when people are losing their lives in the city, being abused and being coerced by their partners, that’s where my focus has to be.”

Kevin Brighton, who leads the council’s anti-social behaviour teams, said the local authority had a duty of care to clean up racist and offensive graffiti within seven days.

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