Mid and East Antrim council reports 90 incidents of graffiti in two months
There have been 90 incidents of graffiti reported to Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, including threats against border post staff in Larne, during the past two months.
The graffiti first appeared on a gable wall at Redlands Road in the harbour area saying ‘All border post staff are targets’ and was reported to police on January 21.
To date, graffiti has been removed from two thirds of sites in the council area with 30 still outstanding.
Mid and East Antrim PCSP (Policing and Community Safety Partnership) Chairman DUP Councillor John McDermott indicated that a request was made to the Department for Justice after the remaining £15,000 of the local PCSP budget had been used to help with removal costs. He indicated that he had been advised that the council had funds only to pay for removal of graffiti “deemed to contain threats to life”.
Cllr McDermott said he wrote to the Justice Minister Naomi Long, MLA and asked if her department would supply “funding to allow us to remove as much of the graffiti as possible”.
“On March 25, I got a three-page letter saying that while she appreciated the work done thus far by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and the Police and Community Safety panel in supplying extra finance but the Justice Department would not be supplying any extra funding for graffiti removal and recommends that MEA council and the PCSP revisit their 2021/22 action plan to make adjustments to deal with graffiti. Disappointed but not surprised.”
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council withdrew 12 environmental health officers from duties at the Port of Larne on February 1 after threats. A spokesperson for the council said it “has been prioritising the removal of graffiti which threatens port staff.”
A Department of Justice spokesperson said: “[The department] has no statutory obligation to remove graffiti or to fund its removal. However, the Department and Northern Ireland Policing Board provides £326k of annual funding to the Mid and East Antrim Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) to help improve community safety, tackle ASB (anti-social behaviour) and increase confidence in policing across the borough.
“[The department] content to approve a request from the PCSP to increase its £5k allocation towards the costs of removing offensive graffiti in the area up to £24k in 2020/21.”
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