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Anti-Graffiti Campaign

The Graffiti Campaign in detail

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The Royal Windsor Home Page

Graffiti in 2003

See below for earlier articles

Update 21st July 2003

Update on The Borough Graffiti Protocol

vansittart Estate symbol 'removed'

Vansittart Estate - racist symbol 'removed'

We had been hoping to include news of some heartening successes in the campaign against graffiti in our town but regret we have noticed no improvements. We are hoping to receive some news from the responsible officer shortly. (July 21st 2003)

Update 11th March 2003

Grudging Go-ahead for Graffiti Clean up Funding

We have been told that the Scrutiny panel, charged with selecting items to be left out of the budget for the coming year, decided not to fund the graffiti team. At the full council it was reinstated, well, at least until after the elections! On 9th February the entire scheme was threatened with cancellation... See next item.

We are expecting that the bold initiative to make some attempt at cleaning up our town will be scrapped shortly after the elections. Probably worth remembering that when you vote!

Updated 9th February 2003 - Cllr Lawrence response. Read Reply

Graffiti Campaign Scrapped?

Local Fury at Threat to Plans

"Getting Rid Of More Graffiti Faster"
"Getting Rid Of Graffiti Campaign Faster"

The Maidenhead Advertiser this week, Friday 31st January, has run a front page lead story under the banner Writing on the wall for anti-graffiti war reporting that a long-overdue graffiti clean-up campaign could be scrapped. In the last month, the 'Graffiti Blitz' was heralded with Press Releases, a Public Forum, plus stories and pictures in the local press only last week.
Now priority for the £50,000 allocated to the scheme has been down-graded. Yet the Borough have found the money (well, well, well, £50,000 worth) to erect a hideous, 3 metre high railings around two Skate Parks [See Now It's Alcatraz], and on the same day and in the same paper to announce the launch of a campaign against dog fouling, and to introduce wardens empowered to fine litter louts in the Borough's streets. But we need not worry, perhaps these campaigns will never see the light of day either. We assume the unpopular, multi-million pound Civic Centre for Maidenhead is not under threat?
  Enlightened Kingston Borough Council has recently undertaken a supremely successful campaign against graffiti in their borough. So successful in fact that costs amounting to some £20,000 monthly have been reduced to just £600. Windsor and Maidenhead residents were looking forward to a similar success, for which they would have lauded the council. On the contrary, this short-sighted, penny-pinching attitude does our council no credit and trying to 'pass the buck' by blaming government funding shortfalls will not wash either!
  On the same day as the announcement regarding the graffiti campaign, Windsor residents received a costly, full-colour, 8 page propaganda sheet from the Borough designed by a specialist local government public relations company in East London [not a local company - see more below]. In this publication,
Looking Ahead - The Next Four Years, the Borough makes grand claims of public consultation, and that they "have an excellent track record of delivering [the Borough's] promises." Ahem... The publication goes on to suggest that residents will be "inspired" to take a whole-hearted interest in the Borough's plans to make the Royal Borough an even better place for us all. Ahem...
Now we take a look at page 2.
"...we will continue to involve you in our plans so that your views are taken into account..." but not acted upon it seems.
"...agreed priorities so that local needs are better met..." Better met?
"...we want to protect and improve...our historic royal heritage. We will promote the revitalisation of our towns..." But not worry if there is graffiti everywhere...
  And so the publication goes on, with plenty of assurances about how the Borough is going to be really effective in the coming years. I don't suppose many residents are taken in by these costly public relations exercises. When the Borough is well served by other media, Borough funded publications personally delivered to us and paid for by us are rarely welcomed. And of course they back-fire badly when the money could have been spent on something the residents actually want... We estimate that authoring, designing, printing and circulating through the post some 30,000 copies of
Looking Ahead - The Next Four Years cost about, Ahem... , £50,000, but we will gladly provide the correct figure when advised.

Council elections not far away

Residents are reminded that soon we will all have the opportunity to elect our replacement councillors. Perhaps these new representatives should now clearly state how they intend to rid our Borough of the appalling graffiti to be seen almost everywhere, and to list those other plans that they will tout around and then scrap.
  Councillor Wilson, lead member for public protection, says, "We are not prepared to sit back and allow the problem [of graffiti] to escalate". And Windsor and Maidenhead residents are not prepared to let the borough renege on their promise. Councillor Wilson has since expressed his determination to see the project through and all residents will support him in that determination. We have put up with graffiti of all kinds all over the Borough for a very long time.
We require that the Borough keeps its promises. We want graffiti removed, and those responsible prosecuted. To have the chance of a clean and tidy Borough snatched from our grasp in this cavalier manner is outrageous.

We urge everyone with an interest in seeing the Graffiti Blitz retained to contact their local councillors. Click here for councillor contact details

Response by
Cllr. Michael Lawrence, Leader and Cabinet Chairman

The article in the Maidenhead Advertiser is somewhat misleading. One of the Council's Scrutiny Panels, asked for its views on spending priorities for the coming year, did not give graffiti removal a high priority. I believe councillors from all parties took this view. However, the Scrutiny Panel does not comprise any members of the Cabinet (as per the relevant legislation), and the Advertisers portrayal of this being the policy position of "senior" Conservatives is therefore debatable. Most people, in my view, would equate seniority with the Cabinet.
  I anticipate that we will be continuing to fund graffiti removal, in accordance with the programme we started at the beginning of this year.

Michael Lawrence
Leader and Cabinet Chairman

More About ' Looking Ahead - The Next Four Years '

The production company, known as Publica (, seems to specialise in public relations exercises in response to their clients instructions. The objectives that they claim to achieve for their clients are listed on their web site as:

  • Identify and agree the marketing objectives you must achieve and those that you would like to achieve.
  • Identify and plan for the possible agendas of your target audience who will receive and be influenced by the publication.
  • Agree a strategy that will ensure that your objectives will be met, bearing in mind the relationship that each publication serves.
  • Agree budgets, timescales and measurement systems with you.
  • Translate this research into a more effective publishing concept.
  • Conceive, write, design and produce a publication to achieve agreed outcomes.
  • Develop third party marketing initiatives and income as appropriate.
  • Develop database in association with you and manage the circulation and feedback mechanisms and keep the client informed at all times.
  • Ensure on-going evolution of publications through feedback evaluation and response levels.
  • Regular feedback forums between readers, clients and publishers to ensure that any communication is cost effective and is reaching agreed objectives.

I wonder how residents of Windsor and Maidenhead will react to this blatant attempt at manipulating public opinion? And will residents and business owners be happy to see such large sums of money spent on this propaganda outside the Borough when local businesses are struggling to pay their huge council taxes?

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Report Graffiti on the
Graffiti Hotline
01628 796150

Another Anti-Graffiti Campaign!

January 2003

See also
Vansittart Recreation Ground Skate Park
The Millennium Mural

Royal Borough Press Release

Getting Rid Of More Graffiti Faster - Royal Borough Proposal

Monday, 20 January 2003

Graffiti vandals could be in for an even tougher time if the Royal Borough plans to step up the action are approved by cabinet this week.
  The existing pro-active campaign against unsightly and offensive slogans on buildings, bridges, walls and fences looks set to be extended to include:

  • a graffiti reporting hotline on 01628 796150 for the public to use
  • a protocol setting out clearly what the council will do to combat graffiti
  • a £50 removal service for graffiti not on the council's own property
  • a new service standard on time-scales for action on the council's own property­ offensive or racist graffiti will be removed within one working day and other graffiti within five working days
  • action against graffiti on public utility property ­ letters seeking permission have already been sent out
  • improved communications between the council and Thames Forest Police to further enhance the joint approach against graffiti vandals.

A dedicated fast-response graffiti removal action team is also being proposed and will be considered as part of the budget for 2003/04.
  A recent meeting of the environmental services user forum concentrated on graffiti and Cllr Derek Wilson, lead member for public protection, said the cabinet proposals reflected local views to help the council tackle the problem.
  He said:  "Over the past year we have made tremendous progress in our battle to stamp out this disgusting practice in our community.  However, there is more to be done and members of the public attending the forum put forward constructive ideas to help us."
  He added:  "One of our main aims must be to make property owners more aware of their responsibilities and encourage them to take action that helps prevent graffiti occurring in the first place ­ and gets rid of it immediately if it does happen.  Letters have already gone to the utilities asking them to allow the council to move in if their property is involved and if it is safe for us to do. The new hotline will also be a great help by giving people a single point of contact to report graffiti so that, wherever possible, the council can respond quickly.
  "We are not prepared to sit back and allow the problem to escalate.  We all have a responsibility to keep buildings free of graffiti, particularly where it is offensive and distressing to members of our community, and the council will not hesitate to take legal action where we find the culprits."

Royal Borough Graffiti Protocol
A range of measures against graffiti, in line with one of the key themes in the Royal Borough's new Community Strategy ­ making the Royal Borough "a better place to live and work".

The council will:

  • Undertake to remove all racist or offensive graffiti from its own property or areas of responsibility within one working day.
  • Undertake to remove all other graffiti from its own property or areas of responsibility within five working days.
  • Provide a graffiti removal service for private property owner/occupiers on a rechargeable basis (the council reserves the right to refuse to undertake work due to operational/technical reasons).
  • Provide private owner/occupiers with details of specialist removal contractors, where the council is unable to remove graffiti.
  • Pursue public utilities to remove graffiti from their property and plant.
  • Co-operate with the police in developing initiatives to reduce graffiti.
  • Provide a single point of contact for the public to report graffiti.

Graffiti in 2002

See below for earlier articles


Royal Borough Press Release

User Forum Gets To Grips With Graffiti

Monday, 30 December 2002

The Royal Borough's high profile campaign against graffiti will make a further advance next week (Tuesday January 7) when local people can have their say at a public user forum in the Town Hall.
  The environmental services user forum will concentrate on graffiti ­ how to get rid of it and how to stop it happening in the future.
  Cllr Derek Wilson, lead member for public protection, said it was important for local people to be involved in helping the council tackle the problem.
  He said:  "Over the past year we have made tremendous progress, thanks to the council's special task force, which acts quickly to eradicate graffiti when it occurs on Royal Borough property, and to our policy of pursing utility companies and others to ensure they take similar immediate action.
  "However, we can't rest on our laurels.  There is more to be done and members of the public who attend the user forum will be able to take part in the discussions, put forward ideas and work with us to stamp out this disgusting practice in our community."
  The forum will feature an update on the anti-graffiti campaign, followed by an open discussion on the council's graffiti protocol, which sets out a range of measures, in line with one of the key themes in the new community strategy ­ making the Royal Borough "a better place to live and work".

The protocol says the council will:

  • Undertake to remove all racist or offensive graffiti from its own property or areas of responsibility within one working day.
  • Undertake to remove all other graffiti from its own property or areas of responsibility within five working days.
  • Provide a graffiti removal service for private property owner/occupiers on a rechargeable basis (the council reserves the right to refuse to undertake work due to operational/technical reasons).
  • Provide private owner/occupiers with details of specialist removal contractors, where the council is unable to remove graffiti.
  • Pursue the public utilities to remove graffiti from their property and plant.
  • Co-operate with the police in developing initiatives to reduce graffiti.
  • Provide a single point of contact for the public to report graffiti.

The environmental services user forum on graffiti will be held in the ceremonial entrance of the Town Hall, starting at 6.30pm.  Members of the public are invited to attend and take part in the discussion. [See Report below]

Graffiti Forum - A Report

The graffiti forum held by the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead at the Town Hall in Maidenhead was very well attended by residents. The large turnout indicated the strength of concern and feeling that has grown in the Royal Borough at the spread of graffiti.
It goes without saying that graffiti is offensive, an eyesore and brings down the tone of a neighbourhood. Experts agree that graffiti should be removed as soon as possible and not allowed to build up. This has been a great problem in our Borough as the Council would not remove any graffiti from private property. Another major problem is the utility company boxes which are constantly defaced.
A chief concern at the meeting was the lack of any prosecution of the offenders. The Council have promised to implement new measures in conjunction with youth services, etc., to address this issue in their new policy.
Other Councils country-wide have made great strides in fighting the war on graffiti. I have spoken to the Graffiti Officer at Kingston-upon-Thames. Their scheme has been so successful that it has been submitted for an environmental award. They have reduced the incidence of graffiti crime drastically. A major factor in the success of this scheme has been that the community "works together" to fight the war on graffiti. It was also stressed by Kingston's Graffiti Officer that it is essential to catch and prosecute the offenders - a point which our Borough really needs to address. Kingston were spending £20,000 a month to remove graffiti (including private property) and Kingston now only spends around £600 per month. This major saving of public money is the result of a concerted effort on the part of various groups in the community in tackling the problem and not just leaving it to the Council.
We very much welcome the new initiatives which the Borough has introduced and hope that the Blitz will eradicate all the graffiti that is presently defacing our area. The new policy of allocating specific funds to graffiti removal and a dedicated operative to keep the problem at bay is a sensible move.
Let us hope that this is the start of a return to a graffiti-free Royal Borough.

This report kindly prepared by LC

Graffiti in 2001


Let's Wipe Out Graffiti!

Thursday 24th May 2001

Windsor and Maidenhead Council to purchase graffiti removal equipment

The following updates refer to the original 8 points featured below and published in The Windsor Express letters page earlier this month as part of their Ban the Can campaign.
We are advised that the council are proceeding with the purchase of high powered graffiti removal equipment. We hope that it will be used extensively and promptly. Residents are urged to report new occurrences at the earliest possible opportunity so that offenders are not given the idea that it is acceptable.
Further to our demand for new ways to be researched to protect vulnerable areas such as the
mural at Vansittart Road/Goslar Way Underpass, we have been advised that the process of spraying a protective layer over walls, etc takes 5 days to 'cure' which is why the authorities have been reluctant to employ this method.
However, our view is that this system is far preferable to suffering unsightly graffiti for months and damage to the mural that is so widely admired. In order to protect the treated area for the required period, board and scaffolding should be securely installed to protect the treatment.


Thursday 3rd May 2001

An arrest has been reported

We are pleased to advise that earlier this evening local police made an arrest in connection with recent graffiti following a report of suspicious behaviour by a member of the public.

We extend our thanks for the extensive coverage provided by the The Windsor Express which assisted in this development.


January 2003. It seems that there was no prosecution in this case.

Thamesweb's Eight Steps to Success

Following the 'Ban the Can' Campaign launched by The Windsor Express in their edition dated 26th April 2001, followed by substantial coverage from a variety of sources in their edition dated 3rd May 2001, Thamesweb offers the following eight steps on behalf of residents in the fight against this unacceptable plague that is spreading through our town.
ts insidious spread throughout our streets and parks requires instant action, especially considering the effect it has on tourism and commerce. Without effective action, we can look forward to a steady decline in the appearance of our historic town, and its standing in the eyes of our visitors.
Graffiti instills a sense of insecurity, the elderly feel intimidated, visitors and residents alike are disgusted at its racist and obscene nature and the costs in endless clean-ups and repairs are substantial.  
  Yet prosecutions are rare. This is a symptom of three aspects, the first being the lack of funding for our police to do an effective job, the second being the lack of concern shown by the Borough and the third, in some ways the most saddening, the mindless threatening attitude of those responsible towards their fellow citizens and their surroundings.
  In an attempt to stem this plague's progress, we propose below eight essential actions to be taken immediately by the Borough whilst inviting Windsor residents to support The Windsor Express in their campaign to 'Ban The Can'. We urge The Windsor Express to make a strong protest at the overtly lax attitude of the local council so far, in addition to making a loud and clear demand as set out below for action on behalf of, and with the complete support of, local residents.

Please note that this article is not illustrated. Due to the obscene nature of the graffiti and its unacceptable content, we have no wish to give those responsible the satisfaction of seeing it displayed through a world-wide medium such as The Royal Windsor Website. We do, however, have considerable and extensive photographic evidence, collected over the last year, which can be made available to those with a genuine reason to view its nature.

For more information please email Thamesweb

The following phone numbers are also available to anyone who has information.

Police Helpline 01753 835553
Crimestoppers 0800 555111
Local Police 'Town Centre Unit' 01753 835429
Windsor and Maidenhead Borough Council
01628 798888
Graffiti Hotline 01628 796150

Let's Wipe Out Graffiti!

Thamesweb's Eight Steps to Success

Windsor residents are demanding that the following eight steps be urgently taken by Windsor and Maidenhead Borough Council to stamp out the plague that is graffiti which is currently out of control in our town.

1. A wholehearted attack on the problem, without any delay or bureaucracy from any department, coupled with a concerted effort to apprehend the culprits to significantly reduce, and hopefully prevent completely, further occurrences of graffiti in the area.

2. The new cleaning equipment under consideration by the council must now be purchased as a matter of urgency. I suggest that the order be placed this week. RBWM residents do not require that a committee grant approval. There cannot possibly be any opposition to the purchase. On the contrary, the residents require that the problem be tackled now without any bureaucratic or procedural delays. Without effective equipment the Borough's resources are totally wasted, 'scratching away' at attempts at a clean-up which fail from the outset. The current techniques and equipment are so woefully inadequate that staff sent out to 'clean-up' merely succeed in leaving half of it, and failing to totally remove the other half, despite their committed and determined attempts to do a good job. It must be rather demoralising for them. Scrubbing brushes and cold, soapy water make no impression.

3. The council must accept that their feeble arguments about 'lack of access to private land' to clean off graffiti have been shown up for what they are - merely an opportunity to procrastinate and to avoid committing resources to the necessary clean-up. After all, which landowner is going to refuse access to a crew to remove this offensive, racist vandalism? Is it a reference to Railtrack who seem reluctant to tackle the problem on the railway arches leading to Windsor Central Station? If it is an insurance problem, then the insurance company involved must be asked to include cover for any additional liability.

4. An official must be designated, together with a well-publicised 24 hour contact telephone number and email address, to which the public may report new examples of graffiti, supported by an answering service after hours. Currently, calls to Maidenhead Town Hall seem to be passed through to a variety of departments, none of whom are keen to act decisively.

5. The Borough must commit to a policy of removal within 24 hours of any reported vandalism, weekends included. The howls of protest from some quarters can be heard even now, but without this positive response to every instance of vandalism, the message will be received by those responsible that it is acceptable, and that the Borough do not care about the problem. That is the message that is being given out currently. Why else would it take almost five months before any attempt was made at a (failed) clean up at the Goslar Way underpass. Even the police have stated publicly that the Borough are "too slow".

6. The financial overheads for this determined action must be accepted immediately for the costs will not be ongoing indefinitely, given that the responsible vandals should shortly be apprehended. The alternative will be an ongoing period of the graffiti problem, with significant, additional long term costs.

7. In order to ensure apprehension of those responsible, the police must be given the facilities and finances to commit the necessary officers to the task of identifying and prosecuting the individuals causing this blight on our town. In supporting the police, the public must also play their part by keeping their eyes open and ensuring that occurrences are reported at the earliest possible opportunity, ideally the reporting should be so prompt that the police have an opportunity to make an arrest. Obviously surveillance cameras are an important aid, but there are other technical innovations available to support the campaign.


Research must be undertaken on all aspects of the problem to determine:

How to effectively 'dissuade' those responsible.
How to detect acts of vandalism as they happen.
How to protect vulnerable areas from future attack.


Sufficient money has to be made available immediately to put in place the required measures for an effective cure to the graffiti plague and its longer term prevention. Without sufficient funds, all attempts will fail.
  We invite all Windsor residents to support the council in making a determined and visible effort to stamp out this disease.


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