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Heritage Watch is an Essex Police led scheme that aims to protect our county’s historical sites, monuments and artefacts from 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 sites across the county and they can be any historical location such as war memorials, museums that contain historical artefacts, churches, ancient battle sites, castles and stately homes.

Crimes impacting on Essex’s heritage include:

  • Architectural theft
  • Arson
  • Anti-social behaviour
  • Criminal damage / Graffiti
  • Unauthorised development
  • Metal theft
  • Unauthorised excavation
  • 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.

Join Heritage Watch

Heritage Watch is a scheme which aims to help fight crime and anti-social behaviour at the county’s heritage sites by improving communication between people who live near historical sites, those who take a keen interest in the county’s heritage and the police.

People who live close to historical sites and those who have a keen interest in our local history tend to frequent the county’s areas of historical interest more often and are therefore more likely to notice anything suspicious or out of the ordinary in these areas.

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.

What will Essex Police do?

  • Liaise with Heritage Watch Members through a dedicated Essex Watch Liaison Officer.
  • Provide members with information about Heritage related crimes in Essex; where the crimes are being committed and how they are being carried out, so that members can take the appropriate action to protect their property.
  • Provide advice regarding security measures.

Due to the the close relationship between historic buildings and many faith centres, Heritage Watch currently incorporates Faith Watch. Additional information will be circulated regarding crimes against faith centres and their assets.

To join, please return the completed form overleaf by post to:

Essex Watch Liaison Officers, c/o LPSU, Essex Police Headquarters, PO Box 2, Springfield, Chelmsford, Essex CM2 6DA

You can also send it via email to:
[email protected]

Essex Police on social media

We're on all the main social networks.  See all the details and links on our social media page.

Reporting incidents

Firstly, do not put yourself in harm's way. For crimes in progress or if life is in danger, always call 999.

You can use our live chat service any day between 7am and 11pm or report crime and anti-social behaviour on our website.

Or, for all non-urgent crime call 101.

For anonymous reporting, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.org

What we might need to know

  • Report the incident as soon as possible
  • Include information such as incident location including landmarks or your phone’s GPS location. You can use the free What3Words smartphone application to pinpoint your location anywhere in the world to a 3 metre square with three words.
  • Provide as much detail as possible about what you have seen and heard, such as descriptions of persons seen, vehicles (including make, model, colour, registration, direction of travel)
  • Any dash cam footage or photographic evidence