Showing posts with label art policing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label art policing. Show all posts

January 23, 2017

Operation Pandora - When multinational law enforcement agents collaborate, they are a force to be reckoned with.


A simple run down.

92 new investigations were initiated between October and November 2016 in which Europol joined forces with law enforcement authorities from 18 EU and non EU countries, including:

Austria
Belgium
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bulgaria
Croatia
Cyprus
Germany
Greece
Italy
Malta
the Netherlands
Poland
Portugal
Romania
Serbia
Spain
Switzerland
United Kingdom

Led by Cypriot and Spanish police, Operation Pandora aimed at dismantling criminal networks involved in cultural theft and exploitation, and identify potential links to other criminal activities. 

The joint investigations focused on cultural spoliation, both underwater and on land, and the illicit trafficking of cultural goods, with a particular emphasis on conflict countries.  

From its operational coordination centre in the Hague, Europol provided operational and analytical support 24/7 and facilitated the information exchange between law enforcement and supporting authorities.

Throughout the operation INTERPOL cross-checked objects against their stolen works of art database. The WCO facilitated communications and cooperation between law enforcement and concerned customs administrations and UNESCO contributed by providing training materials and offering recommendations to the participating countries.

http://www.thessnews.gr/article/9725/ekrybe-marmarini-epitymbia-stili-narkotika-mesa-sto-spiti-tou-foto





During which, 3561 works of art and cultural goods were seized, almost half of which were archaeological objects; 500 archaeological objects were seized in Murcia, Spain, of which 19 were stolen in 2014 from the Museo de Arqueológia
in the southern Spanish city of Murcia. Cypriot police seized 1.383 antiquities and 13 metal detectors during 44 searches.  An additional 40 objects were found at the Post Office in in port city of Larnaca.

Additional objects mentioned in the police briefing include a marble Ottoman tombstone,  and a post-Byzantine-era icon depicting Saint George with two  saints, two Byzantine-period artefacts (one ring and one coin). 

During investigations of suspicious online advertisements 400+ coins from different periods were seized;

In total, 75 individuals have been arrested.

ARCA spoke with Michael Will of EUROPOL's O26 Focal Point Furtum about the arrests and he said

"Again the intelligence led  joint action on Cultcrime was another huge success. The impressive number of arrests and seizures all over Europe shows that the approach  of complementary cooperation between Law Enforcement Agencies of the key countries supported by powerful agencies and associations like Europol, Interpol, UNESCO and WCO is working better and better."

We agree!


April 15, 2016

Friday, April 15, 2016 - , 1 comment

Belgian Federal Police Eliminating its Art Crime Police Squad Due to Reported Budgetary Constraints


The Belgian Federal police have decided to eliminate its specialised art and antiques police unit, the Service vols organisés, Art et Antiquités, au sein de la Direction de la lutte contre la criminalité contre les biens (DJB) which has been dedicated to the fight against illicit trafficking in cultural property. 

The Brussels Judicial Police established its art crime unit, “the Bureau of Art and Antiques in 1988. After a reorganisation  in 2001 the team was integrated into the Federal Judicial Police at the national level under the name “Section ART”  At that time seven officers were assigned.  

In 2006 the specialised squad consisted of five active Belgian federal police inspectors.  In 2016 only two officers remained, one of whom is responsible for maintaining the Belgium’s ARTIST database which includes works of art stolen in Belgium.  At last count, this database contained some 20,000 object records. 

According to the Belgian Radio and Television of the French Community Service the specialised unit is being dismantled due to budgetary constraints.    Given that Belgium's International Trade in Works of art  topped €104.3 million in Imports and €63.1 million in exports in 2010 this decision is a blow to a major EU art market shareholder in their country's fight against illegal trafficking.



August 9, 2013

Report from ARCA in Amelia: More on the Pompeii field class, Napoli, and courses by Valerie Higgins and Dick Ellis

Painting of Amelia
 by A. M. C Knutsson
by Sophia Kisielewska, ARCA Intern

Extremely early on Sunday morning a large proportion of the ARCA class gathered outside the town walls of Amelia to wait for the bus that would take them to Pompeii. 

Other members of the class had taken a train two days earlier to enjoy at the great sights of Naples. High on everyone’s agenda seemed to be the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli; Caravaggio’s spectacular ‘The Seven Acts of Mercy’ at the church of Pio Monte della Misericordia; Napoli Sottoterranea (underground); and above all a pizza from one of the three classic Neapolitan pizzerias: Da Michele, Di Matteo and Sorbillo.

The class caught up with these students at the gates of Pompeii at around 11 a.m. After a much needed cup of coffee, the reunited class entered the site and met up with Crispin Corrado, ARCA’s academic director and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Classical Archaeology at The University of California, Rome Study Center. Dr. Corrado led the students around the site, successfully keeping everyone distracted from the desert heat. She explained how the inhabitants of Pompeii had been living at the time of Mount Vesuvius’s eruption in 79 AD and the history of the site since its discovery in 1748 by Spanish Engineer Rocque Joaquin de Alcubierre. Later in the afternoon we visited the villa at Oplontis situated in the heart of the Mafia district, but a beautiful spot regardless. After this we all hopped back on the coach to return to Amelia. It was perhaps both the most beautiful and the most exhausting day yet.

Walking in Pompeii
Monday morning saw the arrival of the first British lecturer of the week, Valerie Higgins, the Associate Professor and Chair of Archaeology and Classics at the American University of Rome. Dr. Higgins teaches courses in Roman archaeology and history; ancient art; archaeological method and theory; funerary archaeology and human remains. Her personal research focuses on the role of archaeology in contemporary society covering aspects such as trafficking of antiquities; contemporary approaches to human remains; heritage in conflict situations; and the role of heritage in contemporary Rome. Her ARCA course, Antiquities and Identity, touched upon many of these topics. The primary focus of Day One was to assess how far the current issues of repatriation and disputed legal ownership are the result of the archaeology practices of the past and how contemporary attitudes to heritage are consequently changing, bringing new challenges to the field. To fully understand this problem, we were required to know a little more about the history of the field and this began with a lecture on the growth of antiquarianism and collecting from the time of Raphael. 

With a limited number of archeology trained students this summer, everyone was captivated by Day Two’s lectures in which Dr. Higgins explained the different archeological methods. A run through of the controversial debates that surround archeology in today’s climate was the heart of discussions during Wednesday’s lectures.

Mark & Laura renew vows at Palazzo Farrattini
Midway through this intense series of lectures, ARCA students and staff joined their classmate Mark and his wife of five years, Laura, at a ceremony to renew their marital vows at sunset in the beautiful garden at Palazzo Farrattini. It was a fantastic event and a welcome opportunity to relax and forget the murky world of art crime.

After lunch on Wednesday, Richard "Dick" Ellis, founder of Scotland Yard’s Art and Antiquities Squad and current Director of Art Management Group, began the last course of the program, Art Policing and Investigation. Mr. Ellis brings an unparalleled level of expertise and field experience to the ARCA classroom. In his first class, Mr. Ellis directed the non-law enforcement figures in the room through the structure of police services around the world and their differing contributions towards the protection and recovery of stolen art.


The following two mornings, through a series of case studies, often ones that Mr. Ellis was closely involved in, the class learned the common reasons why art is targeted by criminals. We also understood, through such case studies, how large a role the global art market plays in aiding these criminals. The myth that art is stolen by the order of Thomas Crown-figures was immediately dismissed, and any sense of glamour evaporated as we were instantly made aware of the rather more sinister figures that govern the illicit art trade.

April 17, 2012

Richard Ellis, founder of Scotland Yard's Art and Antiquities Squad, sets the record straight on recent comments attributed to him on the blog Art Hostage

by Catherine Sezgin, ARCA Blog Editor-in-Chief

On April 13, 2012, Art Hostage, a blog on art theft, re-printed an article about the recovery of a stolen Cézanne painting in Serbia, then added comments he attributed to Richard Ellis, founder of the Art and Antiquities Squad at The New Scotland Yard, that accused Serbian police of corruption.

The Boy with the Red Waistcoat was one of four paintings stolen from the Foundation E. G. Bührle in Zurich in 2008.  [You may read about it here and here on the ARCA Blog).

The ARCA Blog asked Mr. Ellis about the nature of the comments attributed to him on the Art Hostage blog.  This is Mr. Ellis' reply:
I have had absolutely no contact or conversation with Paul Hendry, aka James Walsh the author of "Art Hostage" since his conviction at Lewes Crown Court in September 2010 for offences of benefit fraud and his subsequent imprisonment.  For some time before his conviction Hendry had taken to making unsubstantiated claims on the Art Hostage blog supported by quotes of his own invention. He has as a result turned what was initially a responsible and informative blog spot, where he would voluntarily edit and correct inaccuracies if requested to do so, in to an unreliable and unbelievable blog supported by lies, made one can only speculate for the benefit of his own ego.
Mr. Ellis explained that Hendry/Walsh was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment and served it in full.

According to Paul "Turbo" Hendry, he 'served three months three weeks in HMP Ford Open Jail; another three months three weeks on electronic tag; then another three months three weeks on probation, reporting to a probation officer once a month, ending August 2011. "The conviction is subject of an ongoing IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission) inquiry looking at a cover up by Police," Mr. Hendry wrote in an email. "I pleaded not guilty to the charges/indictments and that is  why I was sent to jail. If I had pleaded guilty I would have been fined. The Police refused to reveal the contents of their files in court under a D-notice, Public Immunity Certificate, which would have vindicted me and proved they authorized the Benefit claim back in the year 2000." [Mr. Hendry's comments are from an email to the ARCA blog dated July 12, 2013].

Mr. Ellis teaches Art Policing and Investigation at ARCA's Postgraduate Program in International Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection Studies in Amelia.

March 23, 2012

"Hot Art" Book Launched at The Flag Art Foundation on March 22 in NYC

by Marc Balcells, ARCA 2011 Graduate

NEW YORK CITY -- A new book bringing attention to the topic of art crime is a motive for a celebration. And indeed, that was the feeling that one could perceive at the Flag Art Foundation when attending Joshua Knelman’s launching party of his new book, “Hot Art: Chasing Thieves and Detectives Through the Secret World of Stolen Art”.

Far away from the typical afternoon where audiences sit and listen to the author, the presentation of the book came with a twist. To begin with, the place served the purpose fantastically: not only is the Flag Art Foundation located in New York’s art district, but it also occupies the ninth and tenth floors of a high rise, becoming a fantastic place designed to admire contemporary art. The space is contemplative, filled with light (thanks a lot, Daylight Saving Time 2012!) and the atmosphere serves the purpose of both enjoying the art hanging in the walls and presenting a book that deals with the topic of art as a victim.

The author was there to greet the guests as they arrived and among them, a representation of ARCA students from the 2011 MA program: taking advantage of the author’s willingness and kindness, we have shared various opinions on the topic of his book.

When the moment came, Mr. Knelman addressed the audience to give a brief description of a lengthy 5-year investigation that became the book. His talk has been a reminder of important figures who were at the reception. Mr. Knelman first mentioned my dear colleague Professor Emerita Laurie Adams, with whom I had the pleasure to share conversations at our respective workplace, John Jay College, until her retirement. Professor Adams wrote in 1974 the innovative book “Art Cop. Robert Volpe: Art Crime Detective”. This mention allowed Mr. Knelman to address the lack of properly trained police officers, not only in many parts of the world, but also in a city that is known worldwide as the most important art market, referring to New York. To prove his point, he referred to the starting point of his book, where Los Angeles’ detectives Don Hrycyk and Stephanie Lazarus make their first appearance on its pages.

Another important person in the world of art crime who was among the audience members and whose figure Mr. Knelman wanted to highlight was Col. Matthew Bogdanos, author of the book “Thieves of Baghdad".  Col. Bogdanos narrated in first person his quest to recover many of the artworks that disappeared after the siege of this museum in 2003, when the building was left unprotected. Mr. Knelman not only thanked his work, ensuing a round of applause, but also pointed out the hardships of Col. Bogdano’s task as an example of the difficulty of solving these cases.

However, the book deals not only with interviewees coming from a law enforcement perspective. Mr. Knelman provided in his talk the example of Paul, aka Turbo, an art thief, whose life is explained in several chapters of the book, highlighting the complexity of the illicit art trade. 

Also, I had the pleasure to chat with Col. Bogdanos: we both share a career in courts (albeit in opposite sides: he is a prosecutor, while I devoted my time to criminal defense), and a passion for researching into art crime. He pointed out that the lack of dedicated law enforcement agents in the field of art crime was explained, in his opinion, because of the particularities of this form of crime, and how these investigations were usually lengthy and complicated. Because of the urgent need for more research into this criminal phenomenon, he stated how he admired the premise of ARCA.

In sum, a fantastic New York afternoon to congratulate Mr. Knelman’s new book. 

March 22, 2012

Joshua Knelman Signed "Hot Art" Tuesday night at Book Soup in Los Angeles

Joshua Knelman speaking at Book Soup
by Catherine Sezgin, ARCA Blog Editor

LOS ANGELES - Journalist Joshua Knelman, author of Hot Art: Chasing Thieves and Detectives Through the Secret World of Stolen Art, spoke before an intimate crowd at an informal book signing Tuesday night at Book Soup on Sunset Boulevard.

Recovering from jet lag after arriving from an international book fair in Beijing where he had spoken to a large crown of English-speaking expats, Knelman, settled into a corner of the bookstore, and pointed out the presence of one of the people featured in his book: Giles Waterfield.

Mr. Waterfield, an Associate Professor at the Courtauld Institute of Art, is currently a guest scholar at the Getty Research Institute (The Artist's and Photographer's Studio).  In 1981, he was director of the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London when on vacation in Scotland he read a newspaper headline "Rembrandt Stolen for Third Time." Rembrandt's Jacob de Gheyn III, nicknamed The Takeaway Rembrandt, had been stolen.  Knelman recounts Waterfield's recovery of the small Rembrandt portrait in Chapter 7 under the title "Headache Art".   

"The Takeaway Rembrandt"
Joshua Knelman was just 26 years old and head of research at the Canadian magazine, The Walrus, when he covered a burglarized art gallery in the Forst Hill section of Toronto.  He soon found himself having coffee at the Caffe Doria in the Rosedale area with the man who would admit to having committed the theft -- a pleasant enough person who tried to manipulate Knelman into accepting the stolen property.

One of the questions raised to Knelman from the audience was the question of legacy -- the recent murder conviction of former Detective Stephanie Lazarus, whom Don Hrycyk on the Los Angeles Police Department's Art Theft Squad had been training to succeed him in 2009 at the time of her arrest, brought up again the issue of who will continue the work of Hrycyk.  Knelman said that the LAPD has not yet found a successor and that Hrycyk is currently working without a partner.  "Detective Hrycyk, with 39 years on the LAPD, is the 8th most senior officer of 10,000 police officer," Knelman said.  "Although there is no retirement age in the LAPD, it will take years for Hrycyk to train someone."

Another question asked was as to why there were so few art crime squads in North America.  "The units are in the secondary markets of Los Angeles and Montreal and not the primary art markets of New York City and Toronto," Knelman said.  "Clearly there should be one in New York.  Recovery rates increase when detectives have the time to spend getting to know the art community, building trust with the art dealers and collectors.  Unlike other property crimes, recovery of artworks may take decades."

And where does the stolen art go? asked another person.  "That is the billion dollar question," Knelman said.  "There are two separate categories.  The very famous stolen masterpieces can be used as currency, but the other stolen artworks, 95% of the stolen art which is valued at less than $100,000 or even $25,000, is laundered back into the art market, stolen in Los Angeles, sold in New York and displayed in Vancouver."

Knelman will be discussing his book, Hot Art, tonight at 8 p.m. at The Flag Art Foundation in New York City.  You can read more about his book here on the ARCAblog.

March 21, 2012

FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, March 2012: Noah Charney, Paul Denton, and John Kieberg on Art Theft

"Protecting Cultural Heritage from Art Theft" is an article by Noah Charney, Paul Denton and John Kleberg recently released in the March 2012 issue of the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin.
When someone thinks of art crime, a Hollywood image is conjured, one of black-clad cat burglars and thieves in top hats and white gloves. But, the truth behind art crime, one misunderstood by the general public and professionals alike, is far more sinister and intriguing. Art crime has its share of cinematic thefts and larger-than-life characters, but it also is the realm of international organized crime syndicates, the involvement of which results in art crime funding all manner of other serious offenses, including those pertaining to the drug trade and terrorism. Art crime has shifted from a relatively innocuous, ideological crime into a major international plague. 
Over the last 50 years, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has ranked art crime behind only drugs and arms in terms of highest-grossing criminal trades.1 There are hundreds of thousands of art crimes reported per year, but, despite this fact, the general public only hears about the handful of big-name museum heists that make international headlines. In Italy alone there are 20,000 to 30,000 thefts reported annually, and many more go unreported.2 In fact, even though reported art crime ranks third in the list of criminal trades, many more such incidents go unreported worldwide, rather than coming to the attention of authorities, making its true scale much broader and more difficult to estimate.
You may read the remainder of the article online here which includes a discussion of art police squads around the world (Scotland Yard Art and Antiquities Unit, Italy's Carabinieri Division for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, and the Dutch Art Crime Team).

August 26, 2011

The Journal of Art Crime, Spring 2011: Ludo Block on "European Police Cooperation on Art Crime: A Comparative Overview

Retired Dutch police officer Ludo Block writes on "European Police Cooperation on Art Crime: A Comparative Overview" in the fifth issue of The Journal of Art Crime (Spring 2011). This is Mr. Block's abstract:
The academic literature in the field of cross-border policing tends to concentrate exclusively on the high-level crimes -- drug trafficking, terrorism, and human trafficking -- that are so often the focus of transnational police cooperation in criminal investigations. There are, however, many other types of transnational crime, including the often neglected art crime, which may represent the third most profitable criminal enterprise in the world, outranked only by drug and arms trafficking. Drawing on existing literature and interviews with practitioners, this study provides a comparative overview of the policing efforts on art crime in a number of European Union (EU) member states and examines the relevant policy initiatives of the Council of the EU, Europol, and the European Police College. It also addresses existing practices of and obstacles to police cooperation in the field of art crime in the EU. The study reveals that EU police cooperation in this field occurs among a relatively small group of specialists and that -- particularly given the general lack of political and public attention -- the personal dedication of these specialists is an indispensable driver in this cooperation.
Ludo Block is a senior investigator at Grant Thornton Forensic & Investigation Services in Rotterdam (The Netherlands). Previously he served over 17 years with the Netherlands' police and held senior positions in the Amsterdam police. Between 1999 and 2004 he was stationed in Moscow as the Netherlands' police liaison officer for the Russian Federation and surrounding countries. Ludo holds a Masters in Social Sciences from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam where he currently is finalizing his PhD (Public Administration) on European Police Cooperation.

You may purchase this issue through subscription through ARCA's website or through Amazon.com.

July 16, 2011

Ludo Block on "European Police Cooperation on Art Crime"

by Mark Durney, founder of Art Theft Central

Ludo Block, a former Dutch police officer and current investigator at Grant Thornton, recently submitted his doctoral dissertation on the topic of police cooperation in the European Union. While his dissertation focuses on EU policy-making in relation to police cooperation, Mr. Block focused his panel lecture at ARCA’s third annual International Art Crime Conference on transnational police cooperation in crimes against art.

Unfortunately, art crime is often overlooked by law enforcement due to the lack of political priority. Whereas most members of the European Union do not maintain law enforcement units to investigate art crimes, a few countries such as France, Spain, Greece, and most especially Italy, maintain special units to curb the problem. Italy has organized its data management capabilities, its art crime experts, and investigative capacity under the Comando Carabinieri per la Tutela del Patrimonio Culturale with over 300 staff. Furthermore, it has trained officers at the local level in order to enable them to effectively investigate crimes against art. Also, the Carabinieri play a major role in the annual art crime courses offered to senior law enforcement by CEPOL, the European Police College.  Some other EU Member States maintain centralized units but these are usually staffed with only a handful of experts.  In mother Member States, data management on art crimes is insufficiently organized and as a result, reliable statistics on the scope of art crime are hardly available.

Throughout his research, which featured interviews as well as extensive research, Mr. Block found that the countries that placed art crime high on their policing agendas largely drove the European Union’s cultural heritage protection policy. In spite of various attempts since 1993, only recently in 2008 the  European Union passed new policy aimed at increasing police cooperation; however, as yet it did little to enhance the cooperation between the member countries. Mr. Block stated that in practice law enforcement efforts in a majority of the member countries rely on the personal dedication of a handful of specialized art crime investigators. In cases that involve transnational crimes, most investigators take advantage of their informal relationships with other investigators in order to pursue crimes that extend beyond their borders.

The European Union is in the process of developing an art crime database for its member countries.  In 2008, Europol, the European Union’s criminal intelligence agency, declined to participate in the project but Interpol, which has a long history of supporting the fight against art crime, quickly agreed to  convert their database to the EU member states' needs. According to Mr. Block, combatting art crime starts with proper data management on the local level where art crimes are usually first registered.

January 18, 2011

Profile: ARCA Lecturer Richard Ellis speaks about "Art Policing and Investigation:


by Catherine Schofield Sezgin

Former Detective Sergeant Richard Ellis, founder of Scotland Yard’s Art and Antiquities Squad, will be returning to Amelia next summer to teach “Art Policing and Investigation” from August 1 through August 12 at ARCA’s Postgraduate Program in International Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection Studies.

Mr. Ellis ran the Art & Antiquities Squad for New Scotland Yard from 1989 until his retirement from the police in 1999. After working for Christie’s fine Art Security Services and Trace recovery services, in 2005 he joined with security and conservation specialists to form the Art Management Group. He is also director of Art Resolve and Art Retrieval International Ltd.

As a specialist art crime investigator both in the police and in the private sector, Mr. Ellis has been involved in many notable recoveries such as ‘The Scream’ stolen from the National Gallery of Norway in 1994, Audobon’s ‘Birds of America’ stolen from the State Library in St. Petersburg, antiquities looted from China and Egypt as well as the recovery of numerous items of art and antiquities stolen from private residences throughout the United Kingdom and abroad including in 2005 silver stolen Stanton Harcourt and in 2006 paintings by Bonnard, Vuillard and Duffy stolen in London.

ARCA blog: Mr. Ellis, how would you describe the scope of your course? And how can students best prepare for your class?
Mr. Ellis: In scope, I have tried to ensure that my course gives the students a clear understanding of the breadth of cultural property crime, the responsibilities of the police/law enforcement nationally and internationally and the legal basis upon which investigations are built. The art market is global and cultural property crime mirrors this in every way, from theft and the disposal of the stolen objects, to fraud and the faking and forging of cultural objects. For a criminal investigation to be successful it is essential that the investigator understands how to project the investigation in to other jurisdictions, how evidence is legally obtained and then presented in courts foreign jurisdiction.
ARCA blog: In your course, you speak about working closely with former smuggler and Dutch art dealer Michel van Rijn. Does he still help the authorities and are you still in contact with him?
Mr. Ellis: I use Michel van Rijn to illustrate not only the importance of "informants" to the criminal investigator, but also the problems that "informants" can create for an investigator and hence the care that must be used when dealing with such individuals. I play an interview that I recorded with Michel in 2004 at the request of the Dutch Government, which was played to an EU conference to illustrate how criminals fabricate provenance and the difficulties that this presents for all those involved in cultural property. I am still in contact with Michel, which provides me with a constant insight in to the darker side of the art market. Michel will of course help the authorities if it is in his interest to do so and this is another reason why I introduce him to the students. Understanding why people become informants is essential to being able to use them and the information that they provide safely and legally and this is another part of the scope of my course. Understanding why people become involved in cultural property crimes, their motives and expectations will assist the investigator in reaching a successful outcome to a case.
ARCA blog: In the past three decades, do you think police agencies are more or less interested in investigating stolen art and antiquities? Do you think there are more resources out there today? What role does the Internet play in investigations today?
Mr. Ellis: The past three decades has been interesting in respect of the response to cultural property crime by the police in many countries. At the start of the 1980's there was little interest in this area of crime with the exception of Italy, who throughout this time have devoted considerable resources to protecting their cultural property and investigating those responsible for the theft of it. In 1984 the art squad at Scotland Yard was actually closed and its 14 detectives were dispersed on to other crime squads. In the USA the FBI had no dedicated team and only in the police departments in New York and Los Angeles was there any recognition that art and antique crime posed a problem. It was largely due to the restructuring of the art market during the 1980's and the rapid increase in prices that this generated that criminals recognised the potential in art crime. The resulting increase in crime forced law enforcement to adjust and review the situation.

By the end of the 1980's I had reformed the art squad at New Scotland Yard, the FBI in New York were handling an increasing number of international requests through one dedicated office and in Los Angeles an art detail was put in place run by a detective Bill Martin who was later appointed to the President's advisory panel on cultural property crime. During the 1990's more countries recognised cultural property crime as a problem and with the end of the cold war and the opening of international borders the trafficking of cultural property crime grew rapidly becoming a major concern.

The introduction of computer systems during this period, which recorded and made accessible information on stolen objects was a major step forward and Interpol has been able to provide a central record of at least the most important stolen cultural property. France, Italy, the USA and a handful of other countries developed their own databases of stolen cultural property supported by dedicated investigators. UNESCO developed a programme of workshops through which it was able to raise awareness of cultural property crime and by utilising the help of specialist police officers such as myself, it delivered a programme designed to assist countries in protecting their cultural heritage.

There followed a number of high profile cases which illustrated how with the cooperation of these dedicated national squads successful prosecutions could be achieved such as the recovery of the Scream and the prosecution of Tokeley Parry and Fred Schultz to name but two of my own cases. However, as we entered the new millennium, other international crimes overtook cultural property crime in importance for law enforcement. Drug trafficking, people trafficking and terrorism now occupy the top three positions and with the global economic crisis financial fraud has also moved above cultural property crime in importance and I fear that we shall see a gradual reduction in the number of specialist officers dedicated to cultural property crimes. This makes the work of ARCA all the more important as the private sector will now be required to handle the many crimes and disputes left untouched by law enforcement and only through some serious academic research to demonstrate the true scale of the problem that cultural property posses will governments and law enforcement agencies be persuaded to direct more of their limited resources to it. The internet offers a fantastic tool for the investigator in terms of information about objects and where they are appearing on the market for sale. It does not however replace the need to actually talk to victims of crime or to interview those in possession of disputed items in order to reach some kind of resolution to a dispute. These are skills that you can only gain by actually doing the job and no amount of internet research will give you those skills.

Finally and in answer to the last part of your first question, "How can students best prepare for your class?" I would suggest that they cover as many art thefts and investigations as they can find in books and on the internet. To keep an open mind on who has committed the crime and not to be influenced by the often ill-informed opinions of the journalists. To read "The Irish Game" by Mathew Hart, which sets out probably the most thoroughly investigated art thefts of a single collection and gives a good insight in to who commits such crimes and how the criminal has arrived at the routes to market available to them for iconic works of art. A topic to be covered in my class.
ARCA blog: Thank you, Mr. Ellis.

The application for the postgraduate program in Art Crime Studies and Cultural Heritage Protection is this Friday on January 21.