MEMBERS OF the public are being encouraged to anonymously report damage spotted on Scotland’s historic buildings and monuments, following the launch of a new group that aims to tackle heritage crime.
The Scottish Heritage Crime Group (SHCG) strives to raise awareness of the impact that damage has to historic sites in a bid to reduce incidents.
Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, attended the launch of the SHCG on 18 April 2019, which brought together representatives from Historic Environment Scotland (HES), Police Scotland, Treasure Trove, City of Edinburgh Council and the Association of Planning Enforcement Officers.
The group will work collaboratively to reduce the damage, impact and cost of heritage crime throughout Scotland by raising awareness of the impacts of criminal damage and strengthening information-sharing between partners.
Fiona said, “I am very pleased that the Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime is the first in the UK to recognise Heritage Crime as a priority area in its new Rural Crime Strategy.
“Scotland is home to a wealth of cultural property and heritage, generating economic benefits of around £4.2 billion in 2017, supporting over 60,000 full time jobs and attracting over 18 million visitors in that year alone.”
Heritage crime is defined as any criminal activity which causes damage to a heritage asset. This includes metal theft, vandalism, and intentional damage to both historic buildings and monuments. As the regulator of works on scheduled monuments, and the enforcement authority, HES has a key role in the investigation of heritage crime.
Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of HES, said: “Scotland’s historic environment spans a rich collection of unique sites of national and international significance, including six UNESCO World Heritage sites, over 8000 scheduled monuments, 47,000 listed buildings and 44 protected shipwrecks.
“It is vital that we ensure these precious historic assets are safeguarded and the Scottish Heritage Crime Group will enable us to work with our partners to tackle heritage crime more effectively.”