Prevention of heritage crime aim of partnership scheme

June 11 2019 | Castle


Hever Castle takes the safety and security of the public very seriously and is working very closely with neighbouring attractions to prevent heritage crime.

Along with Leeds Castle, Canterbury Cathedral and the Historic Dockyard Chatham we are members of Heritage Watch which aims to protect these heritage properties and their assets for future generations.

Visitors can download the free app (Country Eye) and quickly and easily report any potential rural crime across Kent. Suspicious activity could include anti-social behaviour, criminal damage, theft or unauthorised metal detecting.

Heritage Watch Kent also has a 24 hour 7 day a week helpline to help historic attractions share information on heritage crime and suspicious behaviour.

Heritage Watch started in Essex and Kent is the fourth county in England to adopt the heritage crime scheme. It is hoped that the project will eventually go nationwide.

Roland Smith from Hever Castle said: “We are delighted to be working with our partner organisations across Kent to help prevent heritage crime at our historic sites. We want to ensure that Hever Castle is protected for future generations to enjoy so we are urging visitors to keep an eye out for those who might be intend on spoiling the experience for others. We hope that as many people as possible will download the app and report any suspicious activity they see.”

At the launch of the helpline in March 2019 Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott said: “The budget I set last year meant Kent Police was able to double the size of its specialist Rural Policing Team. That allows us to better protect our rural communities. Preventing crime from taking place is our aim but when something does occur it allows us to respond. I have listened to the concerns over reporting crime over the past few years. Countryeye has made great efforts in this regard and the launch of the 24/7 Heritage Watch Helpline allows us to respond to the challenges. Ward Security is to be commended for the extra support in the 24-hour Helpline to protect our heritage and collaborate.”

Inspector Dave Smith, Rural Task Force, Kent Police added: “Communication of incidents – attempted burglaries, terrorism, suspicious behaviour – is key and the Heritage Watch Line will be a real asset in this regard. It is important to highlight that the Heritage Watch 24/7 Helpline is not a crime reporting service and should be used in addition to 101 or online reporting.”

Mark Harrison, Head of Heritage Crime Strategy for Historic England said: “People have lived and worked in Kent for thousands of years and during this time our ancestors have left us with an amazing legacy that we can see in the form of historic buildings, occupation sites and features in the landscape. Unfortunately a small criminal minority are responsible for causing damage or loss to this sensitive and finite resource. In many cases the damage is extensive and irreversible.

“Heritage Watch helps to raise awareness and understanding of the threats posed by crime and anti-social behaviour in the historic environment and how effective partnership working can help to: prevent crime; identify offenders; and, implement effective interventions that hold offenders to account.”

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