Coordinating Heritage Crime Prevention in England

Graffiti on Clifford’s Tower in York

Carolyn Shelbourn has drawn my attention to a promising initiative in England to help prevent and thwart heritage crime. It seeks a coordinated approach to pair the enforcement of legislation and also the prevention of destruction. The program brings together English Heritage, the Police, and the Crown Prosecution Service to “systematically tackle and reduce offences”. It is a promising initiative which aims to bring together all of the various actors to coordinate their efforts.

Specifically the initiative will rely on the principles of neighborhood policing:

The model of Neighbourhood Policing, established to tackle the crime and day-to-day anti-social behaviours most affecting local neighbourhoods, provides a useful model for tackling heritage crimes. Local communities are urged to understand the heritage assets in their area that may be at risk of irreversible damage from crime and to report suspicious behaviours to their neighbourhood policing teams. 
The profile and accountability of heritage crimes among police officers will also increase. For the first time, there will be a national lead in ACPO on heritage crimes and there will also be a dedicated portfolio holder in many police forces across the country. 
Neighbourhood Policing and community involvement is expected to contribute considerably to improved intelligence and data on the ground, both of which are lacking at present.
  1. English Heritage, English Heritage Calls on Communities to Help Tackle Heritage Crime (2011), (last visited Feb 22, 2011).
  2. Robert Hall, New protection for old treasures, BBC, February 10, 2011, (last visited Feb 22, 2011).
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One thought on “Coordinating Heritage Crime Prevention in England”

  1. According to your first link, ‘Neighbourhood Policing and community involvement [are] expected to contribute considerably to improved intelligence and data on the ground, both of which are lacking at present.’

    While neighbourhood watches and other community activities are welcome and beneficial, and archaeological unemployment means there are quite a lot of people who might be available to volunteer as Special Constables, they need to employ people, not to depend upon serendipitously-timed volunteering.

    Again, it is good that the police themselves will be taking these crimes more seriously; but if we want to prevent them, rather than stop them (and if we’re lucky, undo their effects), then surely the most effective way is to employ site guards.

    I fear this will be a Big Society thing.

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