Hollingbourne has almost one hundred listed buildings and three Conservation Areas. On Monday 10th October Mark Harrison – National Policing and Crime Advisor, Historic England will be attending the monthly Meeting of Hollingbourne Parish Council at 7.30pm in the Cardwell Pavilion and will talk about Heritage Crime and how it might affect Hollingbourne. All are welcome. Please Read More for further information.
PROTECTING OUR HERITAGE ASSETS
Mark Harrison FSA, National Policing and Crime Advisor at Historic England explains how communities can help to protect the Nation’s historic sites and buildings from the impact of crime and anti-social behaviour. He is presenting on Heritage Crime at all the SLCC Regional Roadshows in 2016.
For more than 100 years, Parliament has recognised the need to protect England’s irreplaceable stock of historic sites, buildings, shipwrecks and military remains. The primary purpose of legislation has been to prevent unauthorised alteration and works to historic sites and buildings, but also to protect them from criminal damage or theft.
So what exactly do we mean by heritage crime? As far as Historic England is concerned, it is ‘any offence that harms the value of England’s heritage assets and their settings to this and future generations’.
Heritage assets are sites which are considered to have a value to the heritage of England and include:
World Heritage Sites
Protected marine wreck sites
Registered parks and gardens
Protected military remains of aircraft and vessels of historic interest
Undesignated but acknowledged heritage buildings and sites
Some assets are protected by specific criminal offences to prevent harm caused by damage and unlicensed works and alteration. However, other crimes such as theft, criminal damage, arson and anti-social behaviour offences can also damage and harm heritage assets and interfere with the public’s enjoyment and knowledge of heritage assets.
In October 2015, The Sentencing announced new guidelines for theft offences which includes for the first time, theft of historic objects or the loss of the nation’s heritage and will allow the Courts to consider that the impact of theft on our historic sites and buildings has far-reaching consequences over and above the financial cost of what has been stolen. The guideline came into force on 1st February 2016.
How big a problem is heritage crime?
In 2012, Historic England published research into the scale and extent of heritage crime in England. The research suggested that there are around 75,000 crimes annually – around 200 a day, affecting historic sites and buildings.
These figures seem high but they are broadly in line with the British Crime Survey. Historic places are not necessarily being targeted over other places, except for their valuable materials and artefacts, but they are suffering a substantial rate of attrition from crime nevertheless, and notably they are susceptible to irreversible harm.
Churches and other religious buildings were found to be by far the most at risk, with more than a third being damaged by crime in 2010. Metal theft was also identified as a major problem.
A summary is available to download from http://content.historicengland.org.uk/content/docs/legal/researchsummary.pdf
What is being done to tackle heritage crime?
Since 2011, Historic England, has been working closely with the Police Service, through the National Police Chief’s (NPCC), the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), local authorities and a growing number of heritage and community organisations to tackle the problem of heritage crime.
Preventing Heritage Crime
Parish and Town Councils have a valuable role to play in the fight against heritage crime and anti- social behaviour. Members of the community can be encouraged to monitor the heritage assets located within the parish and to report suspicious activity or behaviour to the appropriate agency.
Integrating heritage crime within existing local plans and structures presents a sustainable opportunity to reduce the impact of crime and anti-social behaviour on heritage assets and will assist in their preservation for the enjoyment of future generations.
Heritage crime has been included within a number of Police and Crime Plans and Community Safety Strategies and is leading to the development of effective crime prevention and enforcement activities.
If you are aware of a recent crime against a heritage asset or are concerned that one is happening please contact your local police service using the emergency number -999 or non-emergency number – 101.
Heritage Crime Checklist – How can Parish Councils get involved?
Identify the heritage assets in your area. Information on designated heritage assets can be found on the National Heritage List for England – www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/or your local authority’s Historic Environment Records will have details of locally important assets which can be accessed online – www.heritagegateway.org.uk.
Assess the level of crime risk to those assets that are situated within the parish by using the Historic England Quick Risk Assessment tool . Where an asset is assessed as ‘high risk’, notify your local Heritage Crime Coordinator and Crime Prevention Advisor, who will be able provide expert advice highlighted within the Historic England publication – Heritage Crime Prevention – A Guide for Owners, Tenants and Managers of Heritage Assets. In many police forces, heritage crime is aligned to the rural and wildlife crime function.
When reporting a heritage crime to the police, ask the call-handler to endorse the report as a ‘Heritage Crime’ and is brought to the attention of the Heritage Crime Coordinator.
Consider working with your local Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator to form a parish ‘Heritage Watch’. Heritage Watch is now operating successfully in Cheshire, Essex and Hertfordshire.
Consider integrating heritage crime within your Local Neighbourhood Plan.
Highlight the issue of heritage crime at meetings of your local Community Safety Partnership and encourage that the topic is included within the annual strategic assessment and crime reduction strategy.
Consider becoming a Police Support Volunteer. A growing number of people are offering their time and expertise to support the police to tackle heritage crime.
Heritage Crime Risk – Quick Assessment Tool
This guide has been produced to help communities reduce the threat of crime to England’s historic buildings and sites.
Heritage Crime Prevention – A Guide for Owners, Tenants and Managers of Heritage Assets
Set out in this document are twenty five techniques of crime prevention with guidance on the ways in which they might be used to prevent or deter heritage crime in particular.
Interventions – Prosecutions and Alternative Disposals
This guide highlights the range of interventions available to those agencies responsible for the enforcement of heritage crime offences. It looks in general terms at the possible interventions from prosecution through to the many types of alternative disposal options, both formal and voluntary, including consideration of the restorative justice process.
Heritage Crime: Guidance for Sentencers
This guidance is designed to the Courts and their legal advisers in determining the appropriate sentence for a heritage crime.
Reporting a Heritage Crime
999 – Emergency Number
You should call 999 when it is an emergency, such as when:
A crime is in progress
Someone suspected of a crime is nearby
There is danger to life or property or
Violence is being used or threatened.
101 – National non-emergency number
You should call 101 to report crime and other concerns that do not require an emergency response.
For example, you should call 101 if:
Your property has been stolen or damaged and the suspect is no longer at the scene
You suspect unlawful metal detecting is happening in your neighbourhood
You need to give the police information about crime or anti-social behaviour in your area
You want to speak to the police about a general enquiry
101 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Crimestoppers – 0800 555 111
To remain anonymous, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers in order to pass on information about a crime or criminal activity.
You will never have to give a formal statement, talk to police or be a witness in court, and you could receive a reward of up to £1,000 if the information you provide leads to the arrest and charge of at least one person.
You can contact Crimestoppers 24/7 by calling 0800 555 111 or by visiting their online information giving page.
Contact the Police directly
If you have information about a crime and are happy to give the police your name and address you should contact the police directly either by phone (see above) or by attending the nearest police station.
You can find contact details for your local police force at: www.police.uk.