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Warwickshire first to get Historic England heritage crime training

Warwickshire Police has become the first force in the country to complete a new training course delivered by Historic England on Heritage site crime.

The course provides officers with the knowledge and understanding needed to prevent and investigate crime and anti-social behaviour in the historic environment.

The training consisted of two online workshops delivered by specialist trainers from Historic England and Essex Police.  

Rural Crime Coordinator Carol Cotterill from the Warwickshire Police Rural Crime Team said: “We are really pleased as a force to have this specialist training for our officers and we continue to build on the strong partnership we have with Historic England.”

The first session went over all examples of heritage crime, such as illegal metal detecting, lead theft, vandalism, graffiti and damage caused by off road biking.

Ms Cotterill told Police Oracle: “A lot of these places have got things that are irreplaceable - once the damage is done, you can't go and replace it with something else because of this historic value.

“The big thing that was really got across - and we'd appreciated it anyway - was the public feeling regarding historic sites.

“They're very close to communities, especially places like churches and places of worship. If somebody’s gone and damaged a church or gravestones or something – it’s extremely upsetting to people.”

As part of the training officers were encouraged to identify and visit the historic sites and buildings on their beat, sometimes meeting and engaging with the owners.

These could be anything from a battlefield, monument or a religious building.

Following a formal assessment, all 16 officers achieved the required standard of ‘Heritage Crime Officer’. This brings the total number of heritage officers in Warwickshire Police to 19.

Mark Harrison, Head of Heritage Crime Strategy, Historic England, said: “The assessment panel were very impressed by the level of knowledge, enthusiasm and dedication shown by the officers; they have shown that they are ready to work with Historic England and the communities of Warwickshire to protect the county’s heritage from the threat and impact of crime and anti-social behaviour.”

A number of other forces are now looking to replicate the training, including Gloucestershire.

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