This browser is not fully supported by Historic England. Please update your browser to the latest version so that you get the best from our website.

Preventing Heritage Crime

Amenity or Civic Trusts and Societies and other special interest groups such as local history groups have a valuable role to play in the fight against heritage crime and anti social behaviour. In many cases they and their members can play an active role in identifying and monitoring the condition of historic assets in their areas.

Building heritage crime into the existing ways in which your local authority and the police work together to tackle crime generally has the potential to seriously benefit the prevention and enforcement of heritage crime and other anti social behaviour which threatens historic assets and their significance.

Consider asking your local authority and police to put heritage crime on their agenda at Community Safety Partnership meetings, for example. There will be other ways in which safety and crime are managed strategically in your area.

Getting the protection of heritage assets woven into those established arrangements will greatly increase the chances of a sustained effort to reduce the attrition of crime and anti social behaviour on heritage assets in your area.

You can find out via the ARCH website how members of ARCH are working together to reduce heritage crime in their areas.

The remains of a Roman settlement damaged by off-road vehicles in Easton Grey, Wiltshire
The remains of a Roman settlement damaged by off-road vehicles in Easton Grey, Wiltshire

Steps to consider

If you are aware of a recent crime against a heritage asset or are concerned that one is happening please contact the police.

If you want to find out what you and your group or society can do to be part of the campaign against heritage crime and anti social behaviour we suggest you consider the following steps:

  1. Identify the heritage assets in your area. Information on designated heritage assets can be found on the National Heritage List for England or your local authority's Historic Environment Records will have details of locally important assets.
  2. Use the Quick Risk Assessment tool to assess the level of risks to a heritage asset in your area from heritage crime or anti social behaviour
  3. Various ways to safeguard against or prevent heritage crime and the effects of anti social behaviour are suggested in Heritage Crime Prevention Measures which may be helpful when considering the best way to protect your heritage assets.
  4. Consider setting up a partnership with other organisations involved in crime enforcement or protecting the historic environment. A partnership model based on Neighbourhood Policing and Community Safety Partnerships has been developed for the prevention of heritage crime and has been agreed with the Police and other interested bodies. 
  5. Your local police service may already have a police officer with responsibility for heritage crime who will sometimes also be the officer with responsibility for dealing with wildlife and environmental crime. You could also consider involving other local groups who may be interested in the historic environment, such as a Neighbourhood Watch or Farm or Heritage Watch organisations. Parish councils, churches and other landowners with assets vulnerable to heritage crime and the effects of anti social behaviour may also wish to be involved in a partnership.
  6. Ensure that heritage crime and anti social behaviour is included on the agendas of already established methods of managing crime and promoting safety in the area (eg Community Safety Partnerships)
  7. Consider joining ARCH to institute local relationships and keep up to date with news and strategic information from the Strategic Tasking Coordination Group.
  8. Consider the heritage crime enforcement models adopted by Cheshire West and Heritage Watch groups.

Was this page helpful?

Related publications

Related documents