Museums Association Conference: Crime watch; Heritage crime in UK Museums

Crime watch; Heritage crime in UK Museums


Rowan Brown, director, National Mining Museum Scotland

William Brown, national security adviser, Arts Council England

Rowan and William talked about the issue of UK museums, galleries and heritage sites being confronted with a variety of crimes as a symptom of the current economic climate.

Areas of current concern in the UK:-

  • Unauthorised metal detecting on heritage sites.
  • Metal/lead theft from buildings causing physical and reputational damage.
  • Object theft, most recently Chinese jade and rhino horn.
  • Vandalism, graffiti on monuments.
  • Internal theft of collections, materials and equipment.
  • Fraud, erroneous insurance claims against museums.

Both presenters gave case studies and some useful guidance for how to prevent criminal activity and protect staff, buildings and collections.  They looked how best to work with the police to ensure they too are prepared to respond to heritage specific crimes.

For some useful additional information take a look at this link to the Alliance to Reduce Crime against Heritage (ARCH) a new voluntary UK network aimed which takes forward initiatives to tackle heritage crime.