Image showing police officers and Historic England staff working on a heritage crime initiative.
Police and Historic England staff working on a heritage crime initiative. © Historic England
Police and Historic England staff working on a heritage crime initiative. © Historic England

Preventing Heritage Crime

We all have a part to play in preventing heritage crime. This page outlines what support is available and what action can be taken to deter criminal behaviour in your local area.

Owners, managers and enforcement agencies

If you are the owner or manager of a historic place, the Heritage Crime Prevention guidance will help you consider what actions you can take to make it more secure.

Please be aware that some actions may require consent, so contact your Local Authority Conservation Department for advice before doing any work that might affect your property.

More generally, you may wish to use our guidance to:

Has your property been affected by heritage crime?

If an incident has recently taken place and you have concerns about damage to a heritage asset, please see our Report a Heritage Crime page for more information.

Interested people and groups

Crime prevention relies on people who are willing to actively identify and monitor the condition of heritage assets in their area.

If you are aware of a recent crime or are concerned that one is happening, please contact the police. There may also be a Heritage Watch scheme in your area that you can join (or another group that’s involved in heritage crime prevention).

Heritage Watch schemes

Heritage Watch schemes enable the public to report and share information on crime, suspicious behaviour and damage they observe at heritage assets in their community or while out and about.

There are currently Heritage Watch schemes in Essex, Cheshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, and the City of York. Historic England is working with constabularies around the country to introduce more Heritage Watch schemes.

Special interest groups

Groups, trusts and societies can play an important role in preventing heritage crime.

Consider these approaches:

  • Identify the heritage assets in your area and use the Heritage Crime Risk Assessment guide to assess risk and identify appropriate prevention measures
  • Make contact with your local police service. They may already have a liaison officer with responsibility for heritage crime in your local area
  • You could also consider involving other local groups such as a Neighbourhood Watch, Farm Watch or Heritage Watch organisations. Parish councils, churches and other landowners with assets vulnerable to heritage crime may also wish to be involved
  • Raise heritage crime and anti-social behaviour on the agendas of already established methods of managing crime and promoting safety in the area (for example, Community Safety Partnerships)
  • Follow @HeritageCrime on Twitter to stay up to date with heritage crime developments