Follow link, or, in brief:
The National Crime Agency are aware of an imminent threat of theft of collections across the UK. They are aware of a group who have made reconnaissance visits to a number of museums and other venues across the UK. It is thought that smaller, more portable items will be targeted rather than items like large paintings.
William Brown, National Security Adviser for the Arts Council then offered this advice via email:
- All venues are asked to ensure that collections are held in facilities offering the best available defence against any attack.
- Intruder and case alarms should be used correctly and any alarm trigger treated with professionalism and suspicion ensuring all causes are identified.
- CCTV systems used should be purged to ensure they are at their optimum performance and good quality images recorded.
- Staff are advised to be extra vigilant to visitors paying undue attention to collections and ensure all cases are maintained and frequently cleaned to ensure forensic evidence is possible.
- The practice of checks on the displays of all collections at opening, lunch and closing should be carried out for the foreseeable future.
- As dark evenings and nights approach rapidly it is a good time to ensure outside lighting is operating and the external aspects of museum buildings checked regularly.
- In the event of any cause for alarm or an immediate suspicion of people around your venue please do not hesitate to ring 999 and advise the Police of your immediate concerns.
- Please ensure any information/intelligence is shared with secure circulating and collating networks.
The advice may seem obvious, but we can get complacent in our habits and checks.
And it can happen anywhere, as a friend at the end of the working day recently spotted a carefully unbolted and propped patio window inside the venue they work at, presumably by someone planning to return later to try and carefully open it from the outside.
For many, especially smaller, local museums, theft and damage from it can be an expensive issue to put right when funds are already tight, so vigilance from the start is the biggest step.