Heritage Watch in Essex is a free Essex Police led scheme that primarily aims to protect our county’s many historical sites, monuments and artefacts from heritage crime, but also includes, museums, art galleries, and other heritage attractions.
About the heritage watch scheme
Heritage watch which aims to help fight crime and anti-social behaviour at the county’s heritage sites by improving communication between people who live near or work at historical sites, those who take a keen interest in the county’s heritage and the police.
A large proportion of churches and faith buildings within Essex are also historic or listed buildings, so we have included these and their grounds within the scheme, and welcome representatives of these sites irrespective of their building’s age or religion.
The scheme is aimed at primarily at owners and custodians, both individuals and organisations, but also includes members of the public who live near these sites or are interested in the general history and culture of the county.
These people are often best placed to notice and identify unlawful or suspicious activity and membership of the Heritage Watch scheme encourages them to report the incident to the Police as soon as possible.
What is heritage crime?
Heritage crime is any offence which harms heritage assets and their settings. It covers a wide variety of criminal activity which damages assets of historical interest and can lead to the loss of our heritage for ever.
Essex has thousands of heritage and cultural sites across the county and they can be any historical location including war memorials, museums that contain historical artefacts, art galleries, churches, ancient battle sites, castles, and stately homes.
Crimes impacting on Essex’s heritage include:
Criminal damage or Graffiti
Unauthorised metal detecting
Damage caused by vehicles
Theft of historical artefacts
The cost to communities
Putting right the damage caused to heritage and faith assets is expensive and the cost to communities can be enormous. For example, metal theft from ancient monuments leads to repair bills of hundreds of thousands of pounds, not to mention the loss of historical artefacts which current and future generations will no longer be able to enjoy.
What we do
Liaise with Heritage Watch Members through a dedicated Essex Watch Liaison Officer.
Provide members with information by email about Heritage and other relative crimes in Essex, so that members are aware of what is happening around them.
Provide members with advice regarding security measures.
Provide other relevant information and advice that may be of interest or of use to members.
Provide site signage to deter unlawful activity if required.
Joining heritage watch
Essex Police are keen to protect these sites for everyone to enjoy for years to come and encourages members of the public to join heritage watch to become the eyes and ears of these precious sites and artefacts and to report any criminal or suspicious activity to them as soon as possible.
If you'd like more information about our heritage watch scheme, or to register your interest, please contact us.