The Association of Chief Police Officers announced this week the creation of a specialist Heritage and Cultural Property Crime Working Group to combat the growing threat of criminal damage and loss to the historic environment and other cultural property. They also launched a National Strategic Assessment of Heritage and Cultural Property Crime.
The Strategic Assessment provides an overview of the key issues surrounding heritage crime and will inform the Working Group and its future priorities. National Policing lead for Heritage Crime, Chief Constable Andy Bliss, outlined the scale of the issue at the launch: 200 crimes a day, the loss of £300m of art and antiquities every year and reputational damage for London and the UK as a legitimate centre for the arts and antiquities trade.
The Working Group intends to develop guidance and apps for front line officers for whom an annual training conference will also be provided. The group will also explore the creation of a national dedicated Heritage and Cultural Crime policing unit to co-ordinate intelligence collection.