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Graffiti flying squad such a hit it’ll trial another year

Aug 5th, 2008 | By | Category: Featured Article

WELLINGTON’S Graffiti Flying Squad has been so effective it will be kept going for another year, and may become permanent.

The positive reaction from rate-payers, and the quantity of graffiti removed, qualifies the initiative for an extension, says Waste Collection manager Pita King, who manages street cleaning.

The Graffiti Flying Squad works in conjunction with Eastern Suburbs Community Constable Theo Gommans, who has seen tangible results.

“I’ve seen a reduction in tagging, quite a large reduction out in my area,” he says.

He attributes part of the squad’s success to its quick response time.

“They respond by cleaning up tagging as soon as possible, ‘cause that’s half the battle right there, ‘cause obviously the kids, they want their tag up so they can become famous,” he says.

Successful cooperation between the community, the Council and the Police is something that Constable Gommans is particularly pleased with.

“It’s good to work in with the community to try and solve these sorts of problems, and in particular the Wellington City Council. Working alongside them has been fantastic,” he says.

Retailers’ are impressed with the results as well, with Wellington Chamber of Commerce spokesman Charles Finny expressing his gratitude.

“It’s an issue that we have been supporting, and certainly the proactivity of the council has been appreciated by retailers and others,” he says.

He cited the economic efficiency of the squad as an area for praise.

“We’ve been monitoring it to make sure it’s well managed and isn’t unduly expensive, and it doesn’t seem to be, so we’re pretty positive about it and it’s achieved quite a lot in some areas of the city,” he says.

The squad employs the services of contractors and apprehended taggers – who are often dobbed in by their mates for $100 offered by the Council – who comb the city painting over graffiti on public request, or if they come across tagging themselves.

PICTURE: Before and after- a bus-stop mural restored by the squad.

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is a Whitireia Journalism student.
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