Law-Enforcement Agencies, page 2 of 2
Antique and archaeological objects illegally imported from Ghana, seized by Dutch customs in December 1994 (photograph copyright Jos van Beurden).
Questionnaire Survey of
Law-Enforcement Agencies and
Commercial Art Theft Databases
The findings of the questionnaire survey include responses from law-enforcement agencies in 17 countries; the results of a workshop held at the 1996 Investigation of Stolen Fine Art and Antiques Seminar (Hampshire Constabulary Training Headquarters, Hamble, U.K.) attended by art and antiques officers from the United Kingdom, Ireland, The Netherlands, and Norway; and the contributions of the two leading commercial art theft databasesArt Loss Register and Trace/Thesaurusboth of which played an active part in discussions with law-enforcement organizations as well as other key communities.14
Between 81 and 96 percent of these respondents approved all the Object ID categories. The only categories not selected for inclusion in Object ID which scored more than 80 percent were Object ID Number (89%) and Object Name (81%).
Law-enforcement agencies are looking to the Internet as a means of distributing information about stolen art and antiques. The Internet is already part of the public face of a number of law-enforcement agencies. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are among those agencies that now have Web sites
(reproduced by courtesy of Cultural Property Desk, Interpol Ottawa).
Table 5. Summary of Findings of Questionnaire Survey of Law-Enforcement Agencies and Commercial Art Theft Databases Category of Information Percentage
Photographs 96 Type of Object 96 Inscriptions & Markings 96 Distinguishing Features 95 Title 94 Description 94 Subject 94
Measurements 89 Object ID Number 89 Maker 87 Date or Period 85 Materials & Techniques 81 Object Name 81
Cross Reference to Related Objects 79 Place of Origin/Discovery 74
Related Written Material 68 Date Documented 66 Estimated Value 66 Normal Location of Object 66 Condition of Object 66 Legal Status of Object 62 Recorder's Name 60
Custodian of Object 57
Object ID categories are in bold.
- Click here for a list of respondents to Questionaire Survey of Law-Enforcement Agencies and Commercial Art Theft Databases.
14 The purpose of the annual Fine Art and Antiques Seminar is "to provide Officers with some knowledge of how to describe Art and Antiques and to whom details of stolen items should be circulated, within the Police Service and the Antiques
Trade. . . .Itis hoped that this will enable Officers to obtain better descriptions of this type of property, lead to closer co-operation and exchange of intelligence between Forces and improved liaison with the Antiques Trade." Course handbook for the Investigation of Stolen Fine Art and Antiques Seminar, Hampshire Constabulary Southern Support and Training Headquarters, Hamble (U.K.), 1996.
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Protecting Cultural Objects in the Global Information Society Copyright © 1997 The J. Paul Getty Trust