Graffiti Removal Policy
Definition of Graffiti
The illegal or unauthorised defacing of a building, wall or other edifice or object by painting or otherwise marking it with words, pictures or symbols.
Definition of Offensive Graffiti
Offensive graffiti will be illegal or unauthorised and may contain some or all of the following elements
Principles of this Policy
- Offensive language
- Language of a politically/racially/religiously insulting/inciting nature
- A hate statement
- An image which is graphically explicit
- An image which is visually offensive or textually offensive by the message that it contains.
South Bucks District Council has a responsibility to the general public to keep the district, safer, cleaner and greener according to the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 and the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005.
The Council recognises any kind of graffiti has a negative impact on the environment. The Council will remove graffiti from its property within 10 working days of any sightings or report and will remove offensive graffiti within 2 working days of any sightings or reports.
If the graffiti is on property not owned by the Council, the Council will request the owner to remove it and provide advice on the many different types of methods for removal. Should the identified property owner not remove the graffiti within 10 working days for graffiti and 2 working days for offensive graffiti the Council may serve a Graffiti Removal Notice, see later in the policy.
Other private and public companies have a duty to remove graffiti from their own property, including utility companies such as;
Responsibilities and Powers
- British Telecom (BT) Green boxes and telephone boxes
- NTL, Telewest's utility boxes
- Chiltern Railways and First (Great Western Railways) Stations
- Network Rail's or railway infra-structure e.g. bridges
- Highways Agency property, motorway road bridges and adjoining fencing
- Royal Mail red post boxes
- Bus or transport companies buses
- Bucks CC Highways road furniture e.g. Bus shelters warning, information and directional signs as well as name plates for towns/village and entrances to Public properties signs
Responsibility for the removal of graffiti primarily rests with the owner of the property involved.
In addition South Bucks District Council can remove graffiti from property outside of its ownership. The Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 empowers the Authority to issue a "Graffiti Removal Notice" to an owner requiring him/her to remove graffiti from private land within a stipulated timescale which can not be less than 28 days. Failure to comply with such a notice may result in the Council carrying out and charging for works in default (subject to right of appeal).
Timescale for Removal of Graffiti
The Council will endeavour to remove general graffiti on Council land or property within 10 working days of the report being received. For graffiti not on council land or property it is recognised additional time will be required, as the owner must be contacted and removal be requested. The aim however, will always be to remove graffiti, or encourage the owner to remove it, as quickly as possible.
The Council recognises offensive graffiti is unacceptable and following receipt of a report will be removed from Council land or property within 2 working days. As above, additional time will be required when graffiti is on property or land not owned by the Council.
Procedures for Reporting Graffiti
All reports should be directed to the Community Safety team on 01895 837220 or reported on the Council's website graffiti reporting form.
Any member of the public, elected member or officer may make a report to the Council for the purposes of having it removed.
Additionally South Bucks District Council encourages those reporting to also report the graffiti to Thames Valley Police on their non-emergency telephone number 101 and request a Unique Reference Number.
Alternatively use of CrimeStoppers (it’s anonymous 0800 555 111 number should be used to record graffiti offences).
For more information please contact Complaints.
Tel: 01895 837200