HUDDERSFIELD'S police chief today called for the creation of an instant graffiti removal squad to rid the town centre of eyesores.
Chief Supt John Holt's plea came after it was revealed that prolific spray painters had forced the town to quit the Yorkshire in Bloom contest.
People who drop litter are also being blamed for the sad state of the town centre.
Chief Supt Holt said immediate action to remove graffiti once it appeared had cracked the problem in New York. "They managed to turn it round in the New York underground.
"As soon as graffiti was sprayed on trains they were taken out of service and cleaned up.
"They kept on doing it and kept on cleaning up immediately."
Chief Supt Holt said the offenders eventually got the message that nobody would see their work and stopped doing it.
"They quickly get fed up."
Town centre managers called off a visit by Yorkshire in Bloom judges last week because they considered the streets too scruffy.
Chief Supt Holt called for all public agencies to pull together to crack the problem.
"Unfortunately, we have almost created a situation where there is an acceptance of environmental damage and is classed by too many agencies as low priority," he said.
Chief Supt Holt said he had personally contacted contractors working on Huddersfield University, whose wooden hoardings had been spray-painted with graffiti about the war in Iraq.
"They came that morning and painted them all out," he said. "That is the sort of commitment we need."
Chief Supt Holt said citizenship should take a much more high profile than it did now.
"I think most people would support the fact that there needs to be a drive to manage our environment possibly better than we have done," he added.
Today, it was suggested that litter and graffiti were not solely to blame - because the town's floral appearance was neglected.
Examiner gardening correspondent Graham Porter - who is on the Huddersfield in Bloom committee - said he thought no priority was given to the proper maintenance of horticultural features in the town.
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