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Volume 410: debated on Friday 19 September 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the level of graffiti; and what plans he has to reduce it. [125371]

The British Crime Survey records that, in 2002–03 survey year, over a third of respondents perceived graffiti vandalism and other deliberate damage to property as being a very or fairly big problem.Graffiti spoils our enjoyment of public places, increases fear of crime and produces an environment where crime and anti-social behaviour can thrive. That is why we are taking action to tackle it in both the Anti-Social Behaviour Bill and the Criminal Justice Bill. We are banning the sale of spray paints to under 18s. We are closing the loophole which prevents the police from searching for items which they suspect may be intended for causing criminal damage, such as spray paints. We are also giving local authorities powers to issue fixed penalty notices for graffiti and to clean graffiti from certain types of property now owned by them.The Anti-Social Behaviour Unit is also looking at practical ways to reduce further anti-social behaviour, including graffiti.