The event, held at Salmesbury Hall yesterday (28th September 2022), brought together partners across policing, local authorities, business and wider stakeholders to discuss how we can work together to protect our historic homes, churches, buildings, and property.
Around 100 people attended, recognising the collective importance of protecting and preserving our heritage and supporting the police in making it tougher for offenders to target these sites.
Heritage crime takes several forms including theft and damage to sites such as religious buildings, graveyards and conservation areas, alongside anti-social behaviour, and a number of other issues.
Speakers from policing, fire and rescue and managers of different heritage sites and related organisations offered advice, guidance and support to delegates to help ‘design out’ crime and make it harder for criminals to steal or damage these historically vital sites.
From lead and copper theft and targeting of bronze plaques and statues that damages buildings to sell for profit, through to arson, criminal damage and theft of priceless artifacts, and anti-social behaviour and disorder, risks at these sites need to be understood to ensure the best protection and response from all partners.
Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Andy Pratt MBE, who spoke at the event said:
“Tackling crime in all its forms is at the very heart of the Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan and I know that partnership working and the community response to issues in their area is of utmost importance as we deliver the priorities within it.
“Heritage crime often impacts our more rural areas but can also be seen in our larger towns and cities, particularly with theft of lead, roof slates and paving, amongst other offences. Often these are carried out by organised crime gangs so it truly requires a cross-force approach to preventing heritage crime.
“Making sure we are all working to the same high standards and best practice is a simple but crucial part of delivering on crime prevention and putting offenders behind bars. It’s why events like this have a role to play in taking the fight to criminals and keeping Lancashire safe.”
Supt Chris Hardy, Lancashire Police’s Tactical Lead for Rural Policing who opened the event, added:
“The heritage crime event continues to enhance and publicly show our continued commitment to tackling rural, wildlife and heritage crime.”
“Working within a County that is fortunate to have large rural communities and significant heritage sites, this event has provided further opportunities for ourselves to work with our partners to listen to our communities, whilst also highlighting the prevention work and enforcement that we are already doing through our dedicated rural task forces and our wider trained rural officers.”