Rail (UK)

Cus­to­dial sen­tences

- Grant Shapps · Carshalton · Streatham · Clapham

I am glad that Grant Shapps shares my con­cern about graf­fiti on rail­way land, a sub­ject on which I have writ­ten more than once. Let’s be clear, how­ever, this will make no dif­fer­ence what­so­ever - the graf­fiti will re­main for many months ahead.

I travel reg­u­larly on South­ern between my home sta­tion at Car­shal­ton and Vic­to­ria via Streatham Junc­tion, Bal­ham and Clapham Junc­tion, and it is not un­com­mon to see what is clearly fresh graf­fiti.

Strong ac­tion is needed, not mere words. Not only must the re­sults of this un­sightly van­dal­ism be cleaned off, greater ef­fort must be made to stop it hap­pen­ing in the first place and to deal strongly with of­fend­ers.

Re­cently, in the dark, my train was de­layed and even­tu­ally had to re­verse back to Clapham Junc­tion due to tres­passers.

What should the pun­ish­ment be for those caught? They could be given com­mu­nity ser­vice and clean off graf­fiti (al­though ob­vi­ously not on rail­way land), or they could be given a cus­to­dial sen­tence.

I would rec­om­mend the lat­ter. Tak­ing their lib­erty away for a year (no doubt re­duced to six months) would be a real de­ter­rent. If they are em­ployed, I am sure their com­pa­nies would not wel­come their ac­tion, es­pe­cially if their em­ployer was named.

If the au­thor­i­ties are re­ally se­ri­ous about tack­ling this is­sue, then let’s see some ac­tion.

These van­dals take great de­light in see­ing their ‘tags’ re­main­ing vis­i­ble for as long as pos­si­ble. Don’t let them win.

John Parkin, Car­shal­ton

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