There has been a rise of tagging graffiti in Headingley, Hyde Park and Woodhouse and police say it is not a priority.

Tagging is where the offender leaves their stylised signature, pseudonym, name or logo on a public surface.

The issue of tagging was raised with Superintendent Steve Dodds at the recent meeting of the Leeds City Council’s environment and communities scrutiny board. Dodds said that the police do look into tagging offences but it was very hard to catch offenders.

When asked what priority tagging was given Dodds said “I think we need to get into balance where the priorities and resources need to go.”

“All of my deployments and my focus is based on vulnerable victims and where the most harm, threat and risk is, which is why I’ll always deploy officers to issues such as knife crime, domestic abuse and serious sexual offending before we look at prioritising graffiti and other forms of criminal damage.”

Dodds added that although neighbourhood policing teams do follow up on tagging, such investigations are resource intensive if the offenders are to be prosecuted.

“Is it going to be one of my biggest priorities? Unfortunately I can’t say it is because when people are losing their lives in the city, being abused and being coerced by their partners, that’s where my focus has to be.”

The leader of the council’s anti-social behaviour teams, Kevin Brighton, said the council had a duty of care to clean up racist and offensive graffiti within seven days.