Youth Removes Redditch Graffiti Under Community Resolution
A 14-year-old youth cleaned up graffiti tags he had sprayed on buildings and other property in Matchborough, Redditch, under a community resolution after he was caught by police.
The youth had daubed graffiti tags several feet high on buildings, fence panels, trees and house walls which appeared over the course of a month, sparking complaints from residents to the police. More than 20 graffiti tags were involved and many of them were painted on property belonging to Redditch Borough Council.
Local Policing Officer PC Paul Downes said that inquiries led police to the youth who admitted he was responsible for most of the graffiti. Under a community resolution agreed after discussions with the youth, his family and the council he was supplied with gloves and special wipes and given a week to clear up the damage.
PC Downes said: "The youth was happy to clear up the damage rather than face the prospect of going to court and the council, which was the victim in this case, was content that the mess was going to be removed.
"It was the first time this lad had been involved in trouble and with everyone's agreement this was felt to be a more proportionate way of dealing with it. Hopefully it has nipped any future problems in the bud and he will have learned from the experience. He has co-operated with us and his family have been very supportive in challenging his behaviour.
"Although the offence is recorded against him and stays on his file it does not count as a conviction and he will not have a criminal record."
Matchborough Councillor Juliet Brunner welcomed the outcome saying: "Vandalism of this nature costs the taxpayer thousands of pounds which could be better spent on other things for the benefit of the community. I support the ‘community payback' approach in this instance and hope that the perpetrator has learned a valuable lesson."
Redditch Borough Councillor Rebecca Blake, who is responsible for community safety, said: "For a first time offence of this nature, it is more constructive for the community to have the offender put right the damage they have caused.
"Removing the graffiti would have taken more time and effort than to commit the crime itself and the 14-year-old took responsibility for his actions. The Community Resolution has given him a second chance without formally criminalising him."
Community resolution has been used by West Mercia Police since 2009 to enable officers to use their judgment in certain circumstances to deliver an outcome that is proportionate to the crime committed and meets the victim's wishes.
It enables the victim of a minor crime to have a genuine say in identifying the way in which a crime can be resolved and means that in cases where offenders have behaved foolishly, rather than maliciously, they can make amends for their mistake rather being taken to court.