To Catch a “Pink Panther”

Stephen Armson-Smith, Crime Prevention Tactical Advisor with Essex Police, gives us advice in the wake of the Portland Tiara theft.

A gang of thieves smashed an armoured glass display case at The Welbeck Estate in Worksop, Nottinghamshire on Tuesday night and stole the famous Portland Tiara – seen by countless members of the public and described as a ‘national treasure’.

I don’t know if you saw the above in the newspapers, not the thing of iconic movies featuring diamond thieves, but a group of ruthless organised criminals depriving the nation of a work art.

Is this the start of a spate of similar crimes like that in the past with Jade collections that I cannot say, but this would be a wise time look at your collections especially if they contain valuable jewels and review the security you have in place to protect them. Check your CCTV and case/intruder alarms are working correctly, is the time/date on CCTV correct, are the cameras clean and free from obstruction, the earliest activation of the alarm is important, thought about a “fog generator”? are you flaunting the security that you have with good signage (remember some of this could be put away whilst open so as not spoil the “Visitor Experience”).

Then the staff – time for some reminder staff training? in a lot cases it will start with “hostile recognisance” a supposed innocent visit to the collection to establish what security you have in place and the best exit routes, or that person that is on property out of hours or that “lost (?)” person in private areas, ensure your staff keep a look out for and report any suspicious activity – a diplomatic challenge will not upset an innocent visitor but may put off a potential thief (if you can discreetly steer the suspect into CCTV view would be an advantage), BUT NEVER PUT YOURSELF AT RISK. Keep a notebook and pen in your pocket to record time/date and description of people and vehicles including index numbers that are suspious.

 

Just a few tips, not an exhaustive list and hopefully not needed.

Invitation to join Heritage Watch

 

This guest post is by Stephen Armson-Smith from Essex Police

Heritage Watch was launched in Essex on 23rd April 2015 following the pattern of those already in existence in Cheshire and Hertfordshire. Since that date there have had numerous mini launches around the county membership currently stands at 135 members. We have also assisted Kent and the City of York with the launch of their Heritage Watch schemes.

Heritage Watch is an Essex Police led partnership between agencies that are committed to protecting our heritage, as well as members of the public who want to help preserve our heritage.

The watch scheme looks to maintain and preserve important places of interest, encouraging vigilance and reporting of suspicious activity around sites. This is to prevent any theft or crime that may damage assets beyond recovery, which may lead to the loss of a piece of history for this and future generations.

Heritage Watch locations would include ancient earth works and archaeological sites, listed buildings, museums, galleries, religious buildings, historic visitor attractions buildings and objects of importance to the local community and others.

We aim to inform Heritage Watch members; of crime prevention advice, incidents affecting heritage assets, events and general information relevant to heritage assets both local to Essex and further afield. Naturally no news is good news in relation to crime reports, but we hope also to source other relevant news of interest too. This information will provided by Essex Community Messaging (ECM) and e-mail messages via your local Essex Watch Liaison Officer.

Who can join?

Anyone with a heritage interest including those entrusted with the care or management or ownership of a heritage asset as listed above, or even as an heritage enthusiast or frequent visitor to heritage locations, you can all help each other within Heritage Watch.

For further information and an on-line application form go to:

https://www.essex.police.uk/advice/essex-watch/heritage-watch/

Like other watch schemes we hope that Heritage Watch will be a two way flow of information, with general relevant information and events sent from members via their local Essex Watch Liaison Officer to other members, and members reporting crime and suspicious activity to the Police either by dialing 999 in cases of emergency or crimes in progress or for non-emergencies by dialling 101 or by reporting online.