Heritage And Cultural Property Crime

At TIAA, we are passionate about preserving our heritage and cultural treasures. That’s why we have a dedicated service to combat crimes and anti-social behaviour targeting historic buildings, cultural property, and archaeological sites across the UK.

Heritage And Cultural Property Crime

Heritage crime may be defined as: “Any offence which harms the value of England’s and Wales’ heritage assets and their settings to this and future generations and includes all offences involving cultural property”.

This may involve harm to a heritage asset by crime or anti-social behaviour and will often have both direct and indirect impacts. It includes criminal acts and anti-social behaviour towards historic buildings, cultural property and archaeological sites in the UK, for example metal theft, the loss of historic fabric from a listed building through theft or vandalism, unlawful salvage and so forth.

Whilst heritage crime is not a new problem, the scale of the problem has been increasing in recent years.

Heritage Crime

The scale of the problem

In 2012, Historic England (formally English Heritage) funded research into the extent of heritage crime. It indicated that:

  • In the previous 12 months, “18.7% (70,000) of all listed buildings were physically affected by criminal activity”
  • For almost 30,000 listed buildings, the impact was classified as ‘substantial’
  • Around 20% of listed buildings are harmed by crime every year. This figure is almost double for listed places of worship
  • The biggest single threat identified by the research was metal theft, in particular from church buildings with over 14% of buildings being affected

Crime and anti-social behaviours

The most prevalent categories of crime and anti-social behaviour include:

  • Architectural theft – in particular the theft of metal and stone (churches etc)
  • Criminal damage – vandalism, graffiti and in particular damage caused by fire
  • Unlawful metal detecting (‘nighthawking’)
  • Unlawful disturbance and salvage of historic maritime sites
  • Anti-social behaviour – in particular fly-tipping and off-road driving/riding
  • Unauthorised works to a listed building or scheduled monument
  • Illicit trade in cultural objects.


How can TIAA help?

TIAA are a specialist security consultancy who understand the key issues affecting the prevention and enforcement of offences in relation to crimes and anti-social behaviour committed against heritage assets and cultural property. In addition we have a proven track record of undertaking security assessments and providing advice across the public and private sectors.

TIAAs team consists of former Police officers, security consultants and professional archaeologists, who are uniquely placed to provide advice and support to assist you in tackling heritage and cultural property crime in the United Kingdom.

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