The Government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill has caused many waves since it was published, and its impact is even being felt in the heritage sector. Paired with increased sentencing guidelines for heritage crimes, the Government is proposing that more, or perhaps even all, cases of criminal damage to memorials will be heard in crown court.
Although this is a seemingly innocuous change, it should be remembered that the much more significant sentences that are now recommended could only ever be applied by a crown court. By making it much easier to move a criminal damage case to crown court, there will be more opportunity to use the new punishments.
This change may not itself impact members directly, but the bill does create a very broad definition of memorial which does apply to some homes, and it does also imply that such cases will be much more strictly policed. Once the bill becomes law, we would advise that owners are more vigilant of any damage to monuments and to be active in reporting it.
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