POOR trade use of the newly appointed force of due diligence officers across the country could lead police chiefs to cut back on funding the service, warns the Council for the Prevention of Art Theft (CoPAT).
A year after the service was officially launched by Home Office Minister Paul Boateng, a poll of 40 per cent of the due diligence officers across the UK showed that although many were proactive and keen to expand their influence, they lacked support from dealers and auctioneers in their area.
This lack of support in some areas is not helped by budgetary constraints. In one case, the officer said that their force had not been able to pay for the postage to notify dealers in the region of their appointment. In another area, the officer said that the due diligence role was seen as “low priority”.
Feedback shows that only a handful of the trade are using the officers at all, and in many instances the officers were not being informed of all the art or antique-related crimes in their areas.
But it is not all bad news, especially where officers have made an effort to make contact with the trade. Several of the officers spoken to in the poll said they were “very keen” to develop their role and had been proactive. In one case, the officer reported that he was made aware of significant art/antiques crimes and that at least 30 per cent of dealers had signed up to the service in their area. Another said they were notified of all related crimes in their area with the trade all being informed of their role.
But with police budgets under close scrutiny across the country, CoPAT is concerned that senior police officers may start to question the value of the service if there is no improvement in its take-up.
PC Derrick Foord from Wiltshire, who is the national organiser of the due diligence officers, told the Antiques Trade Gazette that there had been a slow take-up of the service by the trade so far. “It’s up to the trade to let us know about anything suspicious,” he said. “No officer in the land is working exclusively on due diligence, they all have other jobs and just don’t have the time to keep ringing dealers to ask them if they’ve got anything for them. The trade are very aware of our presence, there has been a very high profile campaign in the Antiques Trade Gazette and elsewhere.”
Mark Dalrymple, chairman of CoPAT, stressed the need for the trade to follow the code of conduct: “Our job is not to campaign against legislation but to stop theft. The trade should ask questions, never accept cash, create an audit trail.
“I believe it’s in the best interests of the trade to encourage their local due diligence officer to take an interest in their business and therefore help the trade to regulate themselves. The consequences of not doing so are the prospect of what some may see as draconian measures – that is the proposed Kent County Council Bill, which forces regulation on dealers at all levels.”
An updated list of all the due diligence officers across the UK, including their phone numbers, appears below and the Antiques Trade Gazette is encouraging dealers, auctioneers and collectors to make use of their officers whenever necessary.
DUE DILIGENCE OFFICERS FOR THE UK
Avon & Somerset: Pat Ross and DS Ian Cooper: 01275 816730
Bedfordshire: DC Martin Kramer: 01234 842380
Cambridgeshire: DI Peter Last & DI David McCracken: 01480 422340
Cheshire: D Sgt Barry Essay: 01244 614858
Cleveland: DC Paul Deacy: 01642 301409
Cumbria: DC Antony Fitzpatrick: 01768 217327
Derbyshire: DS Dave Sismey & DS Gary Lunn: 01773 572195
Devon & Cornwall: DC Joseph Furneaux-Gotch: 01392 452444
Dorset: DC Julia Wilkinson & DC Julie Jones: 01305 223754
Durham: DC Paul Rogerson: 0191 386 4929 x 2307
Dyfed-Powys: DS Gareth Evans: 01267 222020 x 327
Essex: DC Kevin Stiff: 01245 491491 x 52444
Gloucestershire: DC Trish Fawcett: 01242 276653
Greater Manchester: DC Ian Eddleston & DC Susan Brown: 0161 856 6754
Gwent: DC Wendy Nancarrow: 01633 642295
Hampshire: DS Peter Gallagher: 01962 841500 x 2248
Hertfordshire: DC David Horne: 01707 354665
Humberside: PS Ged Slater: 01482 220278
Kent: DC Norman Bailey: 01622 654679
Lancashire: DC Albert Eastham & DC Ian Addleston: 01772 618281
Leicestershire: DS Malcolm Smith: 01162 484914
Lincolnshire: DC Graham Jones: 01522 532222
London, City of: Insp Chris Walters: 0207 601 2461
Merseyside: DCI Francis Youell: 0151 777 4154
Metropolitan Police: DS Gary Oldman & DC M.Volpe: 0207 230 2150
Ministry of Defence Police: Sgt A. Parkinson: 01785 227080
Norfolk: DC Steve Knight: 01603 276292
Northamptonshire: DC Lee Northover: 01604 703573
Northumbria: DC Stephen Rose: 01661 868275
North Wales: DC Geraint Edwards: 01492 511128
North Yorkshire: DS Foster: 01609 789190
Nottinghamshire: DC Austin O’Driscoll: 01159 420999
RUC: DC David McAllister: 0289 070 0870
South Wales: DS Gareth Evans: 01222 222111 x 30547
South Yorkshire: PC Amanda Goreham: 01142 523325
Staffordshire: DC Marie Hyden: 01785 232547
Suffolk: DC Vaughan Morris: 01473 613834
Surrey: Insp B Whicher & DC Jacqueline Smith: 01483 482303 / 01306 882284 x 6343
Sussex: DS Phil Carter & DC Steve Sims: 01273 859135
Thames Valley: DS Pete Humphries: 01865 855720
Warwickshire: DC Paul Ledden, DC John Hirons & DC David Whordley: 01926 415190
West Mercia: Nick Humphrey: 01905 723000
West Midlands: WPC Kay Sutton & DS Peter Walmsley: 0121 626 5274
West Yorkshire: DS Galbraith & DS Clive Teale: 01924 292531/292503
Wiltshire: PC Derrick Foord (national organiser) & Phil Powell: 01380 722341
Time to keep the force with you
UK: Trade risks cutbacks in police commitment over due diligence.