Posted: Fri 3rd Mar 2023

Heritage crime targeted in Wales with new partnership initiative

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Mar 3rd, 2023

The Welsh Government’s historic environment service, Cadw, has partnered with the National Police Chiefs’ Council, Crown Prosecution Service and Historic England to tackle heritage and cultural property crime in Wales.

The partnership, known as the Alliance to Reduce Crime against Heritage (ARCH), aims to reduce offences such as architectural theft, criminal damage, unlawful metal detecting, anti-social behaviour, and vehicle nuisance.

The Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden, signed a memorandum of understanding with the partners and stated that the fight against heritage crime requires strong collaboration between the police forces in Wales, Crown Prosecution Service, and Cadw.

“We take heritage crime very seriously in Wales. Our historic environment and cultural heritage are precious and irreplaceable – we protect them for the benefit of people today and for our future generations,” said Ms Bowden.

Recent developments to reduce heritage crime include the establishment of dedicated Heritage Crime Liaison Officers in police forces across England and Wales, the publication of revised sentencing guidelines, and improved data collection and intelligence gathering.

Additionally, many Heritage Watch schemes have been launched to harness the passion for heritage in communities, local authorities, and national parks.

Dawn Bowden was at Chepstow Castle to sign a memorandum of understanding with the partners involved in the initiative.

Duncan Wilson, Historic England Chief Executive, welcomed Cadw as a signatory to the memorandum.

Mr Wilson noted that significant progress has been made to prevent and investigate crime and anti-social behaviour affecting the historic environment since the signing of the original memorandum.

He added that Heritage crime robs us of our collective history and today’s event marks the next stage in our commitment to tackle it, wherever it occurs.

The new legislation, The Historic Environment (Wales) Bill, is in its final stages of passage through the Senedd.

When it becomes law, this consolidated legislation will replace the existing Acts for the protection of monuments, listed buildings, and conservation areas in Wales.

Welsh Police Forces will pursue a consistent approach to policing heritage crime demonstrated by the launch of Operation Heritage Cymru last year. This aims for greater consistency across Wales, particularly in crime reporting, building knowledge, and raising public awareness.

Heritage and cultural property crime is defined as ‘Any offence which harms the value of England and Wales’s heritage assets and their settings to this and future generations and includes all offences involving cultural property.’

Heritage assets in England and Wales include listed buildings, scheduled monuments, protected marine wreck sites, protected military remains of aircraft and vessels of historic interest, known battlefield locations, registered parks and gardens, conservation areas, World Heritage Sites, and undesignated but acknowledged heritage buildings and sites.

 

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