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Scottish Organisation to Tackle Vandalism on Historic Buildings

A Scottish organisation with members from Historic Environment Scotland, Police of Scotland, Treasure Trove, City of Edinburgh Council and the Association of Planning Enforcement Officers aims to address and repair the heritage crime that is frequently seen across Scotland. The Group is called Scotland Heritage Crime Group (SHCG).

Heritage crime is any form of criminal activity which has caused damage to a historic asset, including vandalism, theft and international damage to both historic monuments and buildings.  

The organisation intends on working together to tackle the damage and reduce the impact and cost of heritage crime in Scotland through raising awareness of the impacts of criminal damage and strengthening information-sharing between the partnering services.  

This task was announced on World Heritage Day, the yearly event which is celebrated across the world, raising awareness of the impact that protection and preservation has on cultural heritage.  

Alongside the SHCG, organisation Crimestoppers are planning to launch a new campaign to encourage members of the public to voice their opinion anonymously and share any potential inside knowledge of damage caused to Scotland’ historic buildings and monuments.  

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Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop states: “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. 

“As guardians of Scotland’s heritage, it is our responsibility to protect it from those who would seek to harm and degrade it through theft, vandalism or other forms of criminality.” 

Chief executive of Heritage Environment Scotland, Alex Paterson, 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.” 

Rural crime coordinator at Police Scotland and chair of the SHCG, Inspector Alan Dron said: “Scotland is rich in cultural property and heritage dating back thousands of years. Our heritage is diverse in nature, ranging from Neolithic standing stones to medieval castles.” 

"Heritage crime robs us of our history, and its cost and impact on communities is enormous - not just in monetary value but in social costs. Any damage caused denies future generations the opportunity to enjoy our heritage, and this is why the Scottish Heritage Crime Group, working as a sub group of the Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime, has been formed. It will play a vital role in protecting and preserving Scotland's heritage for generations to come." 

With the aid of this organisation, the damage to historical buildings across Scotland will be reduced and hopefully, prevented, as further awareness is raised in aim to preserve the country’s historic culture.  

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