Antisocial Behaviour: Paint

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 16th December 2020.

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Photo of Luke Pollard Luke Pollard Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent steps the Government has taken to reduce levels of antisocial behaviour involving the use of spray paint.

Photo of Luke Pollard Luke Pollard Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the potential correlation between the pricing of spray paint and the level of antisocial behaviour involving the use of spray paint.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Addressing visible signs of crime and anti-social behaviour such as graffiti helps to improve public perceptions of local environmental quality.

In 2018 we almost doubled the maximum fixed penalty that local authorities can issue for offences related to graffiti to £150 and increased the default to £100. Councils retain the income from these fixed penalty notices, which can be spent on their functions relating to keeping land and highways clear of litter and refuse, and enforcement against graffiti offences.

For more serious offences, such as racist or otherwise abusive graffiti, prosecution is more suitable. In our recently published guidance on enforcement against littering and related offences, we made clear that any enforcement action must be proportionate and in the public interest.

The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 introduced a range of flexible tools and powers that the police, local authorities and other local agencies can use to respond quickly and effectively to anti-social behaviour, including Community Protection Notices (CPNs). It is a criminal offence if a person does not comply with a CPN, for which they can receive a fine upon conviction. Instead of prosecuting, a fixed penalty notice of up to £100 can be issued.

These powers are deliberately local in nature, and it is for local agencies to determine whether their use is appropriate in the specific circumstances as those who work within, and for, local communities will be best placed to understand what is driving the behaviour in question, the impact that it is having, and to determine the most appropriate response.

Defra has not made any assessment of the potential correlation between the pricing of spray paint and the level of antisocial behaviour involving its use.

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