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New Guide to Security of Heritage Properties launched by BSIA

A new version of the Guide to Security of Heritage Properties (Form 188) has been published by the British Security Industry Association (BSIA). 

The document has been designed to offer owners and managers of all kinds of heritage and property - as well as those tasked with its security - a general overview of some of the key considerations to take into account when carrying out risk assessments and implementing security policies for heritage sites. 

It does not necessarily only apply to private property, as its main points are also applicable to those charged with the security of sites with shared community value. 

Indeed, owners of private houses, smaller businesses that are operating from listed properties and custodians of individual properties open to the public are all listed as some of the people the BSIA expects to benefit from the publication, in addition to any groups of volunteers caring for heritage in their community. 

Some of the techniques, products and services available to protect this kind of area are all covered in the new guide. BSIA technical officer Paul Phillips authored the publication and he acknowledged there are some unique considerations that do not necessarily have to be thought about by those who are maintaining any other type of property. 

Avoiding this could prove to be very expensive, as correcting any damage caused by criminals can be expected to be a great deal more expensive than simply replacing windows at an office building - and this is what makes security so important at a heritage site. 

"Protecting unique properties often means using unique and costly solutions but with the help of this guide owners should be able to make the most of limited resources and help save our history and culture for the future," Mr Phillips remarked. 

Making alterations to a heritage site such as installing new electrics to fit CCTV can diminish their value considerably - so manned security is likely to be a much more suitable approach. 

Security is a very important consideration, as by their nature heritage sites are unlikely to have been built with any consideration for the impact of criminal behaviour in the modern age. 

Any places that are situated in remote areas are also likely to be relatively difficult to protect - and the necessity of allowing public access can unfortunately facilitate criminal activity. Beyond the Heritage Security Guide, some companies may find that employing a dedicated security consultant can prove to be a cost-effective solution. 

Simon Alderson, chairman of the BSIA's Vacant Property Protection group, said there are unique potential security risks involved. 

"Heritage sites are often remote and packed with materials that can attract crime - lead roofs, copper piping, old libraries," he commented, adding: "It sounds like something from a Cluedo set, but for the few pounds thieves may obtain from selling stolen metals, they can cause tens of thousands of pounds of damage. Plus vacant sites are also targets for illegal raves and squats."

 

Posted by Andrew Miller

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