Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Reporting of graffiti by govt agencies to the Police

I recently had some correspondence via email with the Crime Prevention Division of the Attorney General's Department.


I have recently reported a number of sites that need cleaning up to a variety of government agencies - you can find more details at

I have one question though - are all NSW government agencies and corporations obliged to report each graffiti incident to the Police?  For instance, I asked Energy Australia to repaint all their substations in the inner west - something that they have now done.  This might have involved repainting 50 substations.  Would each substation have been reported as a separate incident?  Would they have been reported at all?

From my travels just around Canada Bay, I suggest you need to also pull Telstra and Australia Post into your anti graffiti committee.  If you have a look at the photos in my blog, you'll understand why.  I know that they are not NSW government agencies, but they are responsible for assets in the public arena that are frequently vandalised.


Thank you for your interest in the issue of graffiti vandalism. This is an issue that the NSW Government takes very seriously and the NSW Attorney General’s Department is currently undertaking a body of research, the results of which will be used to inform policy that aims at reducing the incidence of graffiti vandalism in NSW. 

In response to your question – the reporting of graffiti to the Police is at the discretion of the government agency and corporations, so incidents of graffiti vandalism on their assets may or may not be reported. 

The Anti-Graffiti Action Team (AGAT) has recently been involved in review of all graffiti related legislation, and the report has considered the issue of uniformity in the reporting and recording of graffiti incidents. Any changes to be made in relation to the reporting and recording requirements relating to incidents of graffiti vandalism will be considered by Cabinet following a review of the AGAT report.  The outcome of the legislative review will be made public via the graffiti website following approval by Cabinet. 

Kind regards 

Crime Prevention Division, AGD 

Unless I am mistaken, this is a polite way of saying that each government agency does what it likes when it comes to reporting, and if they choose to report none of it, there is diddly-squat that the Police and the Attorney General's Dept can do about it.

If government agencies can be bothered to report graffiti to the Police, then what hope do we have of gathering sufficient statistics to determine how bad the problem is, what it is costing to fix, and perhaps more importantly, the type of intelligence that the Police can use to track down the perpetrators?

Also note that my suggestion about inviting Telstra and Australia Post onto their anti-graffiti committee was politely ignored in the response.  Federal-State co-operation (as far as Australia Post is concerned) appears to be just too difficult to worry about.

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