Please note: this is the old RPWBRA web site, kept for historical information only. Please check our new web site for up-to-date information.

Raynes Park and West Barnes Residents' Association
Serving the community since 1928

Is this the writing on the wall for graffiti ?

From "The Guide", July 2001

I am a sad case. I don't get out much, and when I do I am usually half-asleep. This comes from having a small baby, a young child, a teenager and a husband !

The other day, I treated myself to a trip on the bus. My eyes were opened at the amount of graffiti I saw on my travels - on houses, cable boxes, railway bridges and the like. Surely not in leafy Raynes Park ! I asked my teenage daughter her views - was I missing the point, was there some merit in the "work" that I could not see as an older person ? She told me that she would consider the more artistic forms of graffiti as good work, which she could see no problem with (she is an art student after all). However, she did not like the ugly "tagging" which is so prevalent. Personally, I like neither (sorry, Skew Arch !) It is purely down to personal taste - I prefer my art in the style of Rossetti and the Pre-Raphaelites - not everybody's cup of tea.

So what can we do about it ? Merton Council has committed to spend £60,000 to tackle the problem. However, neighbouring Wandsworth are spending £500,000. The scheme Merton has come up with relies on residents taking their own snaps of the offending graffiti so that the Council can go along and remove it. Wandsworth take their own photographs, remove the graffiti within prescribed times (24 hours for racist or obscene items) and use their photographs as evidence to prosecute offenders. Of course, CCTV cameras also help catch offenders "in the act". I'm not saying that Wandsworth have the total solution, or that throwing money at the problem makes it go away, but we are talking about a commitment to tackle a problem that needs to be resolved, and I'm not sure that Merton have that commitment. Education also needs to play a part - respect for other people's property and our surrounding areas.

I would urge Merton Council to take this problem seriously. Put some serious resources, not just money, into tackling graffiti and those people who seem to have nothing better to do that make our area resemble a New York ghetto ! And there lies another issue ...

Merton council graffiti removal phone-numbers

Debbie Coady
Secretary, RP&WBRA