Skip to content Quick exit

Heritage crime

Heritage crime is any offence that harms heritage assets and their settings.

Most heritage sites are not necessarily being targeted by criminals, with the exception of churches and monuments targeted for their lead and metal.

Most assets are damaged by people who aren’t aware of the impact their behaviour or actions are having.

Offences against the county’s heritage carry considerable sentencing/fines and stronger penalties are used.

Crimes impacting on Hertfordshire’s heritage include

  • Arson
  • Anti-social behaviour
  • Criminal damage/graffiti
  • Unauthorised development or excavation
  • Damage caused by vehicles
  • Unauthorised metal detecting
  • Theft of metal, historical or cultural artefacts cultural property, such as pieces of art, jade and rhino horn

The cost to communities

Putting right damage caused to heritage assets is expensive and the cost to communities can be enormous. There is also the impact of the loss of historical artefacts, which current and future generations will no longer be able to enjoy.

The loss of heritage assets can also impact on tourism and the livelihoods of those who depend on them for an income.

Our county has thousands of heritage assets across the county. These include:

  • Listed buildings and scheduled monuments
  • Registered battlefields, parks and gardens
  • Conservation areas
  • Areas of archaeological importance or potential

Heritage assets are more vulnerable to heritage crime if:

  • They are unoccupied
  • Windows/doors are insecure
  • The asset is secluded
  • It has a high metal content
  • Artefacts can be moved/lifted

Tackling heritage crime

Our Rural Operational Support Team (ROST) officers lead our response to heritage crime, supporting local officers, with the aim of reducing the damage caused to our historic sites and buildings.

The team works with organisations such as Natural England, English Heritageand Herts County Council. We have identified the areas throughout our county that are subject to additional protection due to heritage crime.

If you would like to speak to a member of the ROST team, please contact us.

How you can help

  • Join Heritage Watch
  • Become a Police Community Volunteer for heritage crime and Heritage Watch
  • Find out where the heritage sites and artefacts are in your community (English Heritage have a list you can use)
  • Share this information with other people who live in your local area
  • Report anything suspicious relating to heritage assets in your community that you are concerned about via our online 'contact us' portal, or - if a crime is in progress - via 999

The Alliance to Reduce Crime against Heritage

The Alliance to Reduce Crime against Heritage (ARCH) is a voluntary national network, spearheaded by English Heritage, the police and the Crown Prosecution Service.

The aim of the group is to reduce the amount of crime that causes damage to or interferes with the enjoyment of heritage assets in England.

Membership of the group is free and open to all organisations and groups that have an interest in preventing and enforcing heritage crime.

Our website uses cookies to improve your experience.