The Metropolitan Police – the Police Service for the Greater London Area – have numerous different branches and units within its overall control.
I recently visited their Arts and Antiquities Branch to see for myself the work they are doing to protect cultural items.
The Branch is responsible for the London Stolen Art Database which currently catalogues the details of some 54,000 stolen artworks – some of which are invaluable pieces of art. London is without a doubt Europe’s largest art market with hugely important and famous artworks in our capital from around the world. It is therefore hugely important that these artworks are protected.
Much of the world’s history is preserved in London through artwork from the tombs of ancient Egyptian kings to paintings from some of the world’s most famous artists and I am pleased that we have a specialised unit in London to ensure these pieces of history are protected. Recently the Branch was able to return a priceless Buddha statue to India which had been stolen from an Indian museum in 1961. You can read more about this via this link: http://news.met.police.uk/news/buddha-statue-stolen-from-india-57-years-to-be-returned-317396.
I was thoroughly impressed by the work of the Branch. The work of this police unit has a really positive impact on international relations and cultural diplomacy.