Evidence Session (Sections 3200-3299)|
23 MARCH 2006
3200. Below that there is a number of bullet
points. Residential burglary was down eight per cent, right?
(Mr Wallace) Yes.
3201. What is the position now?
(Mr Wallace) That
trend has reversed and it is on the increase.
3202. What is the position as to perception
of residents about burglary?
(Mr Wallace) A
big amount of our work is to do with the fear of crime and the
fear of crime is still significantly high and higher than the
actual. I believe anything that can be done to reduce that fear
of crime as well as actual crime is to be welcomed.
3203. Go to page eight, would you, of that
document. Under "Residents' Priorities. Residents were asked
to identify five priorities for the future of a list of 21 with
the highest scoring in order ..." number five is burglary.
(Mr Wallace) Yes.
3204. Leaving aside burglary, which is the
unlawful entry into a dwelling house to commit an arrestable offence,
let us go to the other end of the offence and that is theft. Go
to page five, would you, top of the page, "These reductions
were counteracted in the increases in some crimes
robbery, theft and dishonest handling up nine per cent. What is
the Bill aimed at with that in mind?
(Mr Wallace) The
Bill is aimed at regulating the second hand market where it is
the primary supply route for the result of acquisitive crime.
It does not deal just with domestic burglary. A street robbery
of a mobile phone, a Walkman, whatever, it needs to be converted
into cash, it has to go through a route to convert it into cash
and these are the second hand supply routes. This Bill is aimed
at regulating that route and I believe you will hear far more
on that from the police but it is to deal with the handling of
stolen goods as a key element of why this Bill should be introduced.
3205. MR CLARKSON: That is all I have
for Mr Wallace.
3206. CHAIRMAN: Does the Committee have
any more questions for this witness?
Examined by THE COMMITTEE
SLIM: I know there have been some reorganisations here and
there but do you have direct to access or liaison with Customs
(Mr Wallace) I
would not describe it as direct. We do have a working relationship
with Customs and Excise and the Government Agency Intelligence
Network, the GAIN meetings, Customs and Excise are inputting,
we regularly work with them in partnership working on activities
around illegal tobacco, illegal alcohol, vehicle licence evasion.
We have very regular workings with them, yes.
3208. CHAIRMAN: We have no further questions
for Mr Wallace.
3209. MR CLARKSON: Thank you, Mr Wallace.
The witness withdrew
3210. MR CLARKSON: I will now call Chief
Inspector Daniel Murphy.
Chief Inspector Daniel Murphy, Sworn
Examined by MR CLARKSON
3211. MR CLARKSON:
Are you temporary superintendent Daniel Murphy?
(Mr Murphy) I am.
3212. You are deputy area commander for the
Weald policing area.
(Mr Murphy) Yes.
3213. Will you take over and give your evidence.
What are the challenges in Kent?
(Mr Murphy) The
BCU that I work in is the largest geographic land mass in Kent
at present. It is over 360 square miles. The resident population
is about 144,000 and is growing all the time with regional growth.
We have the Ashford Eurotunnel link on our doorstep and we have
a number of towns, Ashford being the predominant one, within the
BCU command unit.
3214. Who are you accountable to?
(Mr Murphy) Firstly
to the public that I serve; secondly to the chief constable; and
thirdly to the local police authority.
3215. You signed up in October 1994 I think
to the police force?
(Mr Murphy) That
is correct, yes.
3216. In June 1998 you were recruited to the
Strategic Crime Reduction Department at headquarters to obtain
legislation for the Kent and Medway Act, is that right?
(Mr Murphy) That
is correct, yes. I was asked to be project manager working with
Medway Council and Kent County Council Trading Standards to obtain
a joint piece of legislation to provide the evidence to justify
why we needed that legislation and what we would do with it once
we had obtained it.
3217. You brought evidence forward, did you
not, to Parliament in support of the Bill that became the Kent
Act and the Medway Act?
(Mr Murphy) I provided
evidence which laid out what the problem was in Kent, what the
motivation for obtaining the legislation was and our market reduction
intelligence-led policing approach to explain how we do things
in Kent now.
3218. Things have moved apace in your life
since then and in July 2005 you became the area commander for
(Mr Murphy) That
is correct. My superintendent at the time had the opportunity
to go on an exchange to Australia. Had I had the chance I would
have probably taken that instead but he left me behind in charge
which means you run the whole operation policing for that basic
command unit which includes neighbour policing intelligence, volume
and serious crime investigations, finance budget and it is devolved
down to an area level.
3219. Does it mean now that you have an overview
of how the Kent Act that you promoted has worked?
(Mr Murphy) Yes,
it does and how you can use the Kent Act as part of the market
reduction approach to affect the types and levels of crime which
are being committed in your area and in the surrounding areas.
3220. We know you gave evidence and the Acts
were passed. Summarise what you had in mind when you gave evidence
and promoted it. What was being sought from the police side? We
have heard from Trading Standards, what was being sought from
the police side?
(Mr Murphy) The
main thing that we were seeking to achieve was to reduce the level
of acquisitive crime. If you think of crime as a business, to
go out and commit a crime is quite difficult. First of all you
have got to work out where you are going to go, what you are going
to steal and how you are going to dispose of it and there are
a number of choices to be made. If was going to go out now and
commit a burglary or steal from a car, first of all I have got
to say to myself, "Where do I go? How do I do that? What
do I take? How do I transport that from where I have stolen it
to where I am going to dispose of it? How do I get the best price
to make the whole risk worthwhile?" That is the criminal
business and it is not easy for a burglar or a car criminal to
do that business. What we have tried to do through this part of
the Act is understand the second hand market and when things are
stolen, how do people dispose of them to realise the cash, and
put blocks in place to make it more difficult, the risks higher
and the returns less, so you break down the motivation of the
criminal to go out and commit that type of crime.
3221. Let us use the Kent Acts document as
a surrogate for the next questions because it is all set out in
that document. I read the Executive Summary in my opening. Would
you just take us through that first of all dealing with market
reduction? I think you have just explained what market reduction
is, am I right?
(Mr Murphy) Yes,
it is understanding all the transactions that take place to turn
something that is stolen into cash in your pocket basically.
3222. CHAIRMAN: Mr Clarkson, may I intervene
at this point because I think the Committee is probably quite
interested in this point. Would you be able to supply us with
an example? Since you put forward the example of car crime, could
you describe the kind of chain from the moment a stereo is stolen
from a car to the point at which it goes on sale again? How many
stages typically in that kind of chain would there be?
(Mr Murphy) That
depends on the geography, the offender, if it is a juvenile, it
may be to a friend of an associate, it may be they go round knocking
on people's doors on a council estate trying to hawk it, it may
be that they walk into a second hand trader and say, "I have
got a stereo here, I'd like to sell it".
3223. That is rather what I was hoping you
might be able to tell us. I know that you cannot give robust figures
but with that sort of petty crime is it more or less likely that
articles stolen in that way would wind up with a trader?
(Mr Murphy) I presented
evidence to the Select Committee in the other House whereby I
had interviewed people in prison and asked them how they disposed
of their stolen property and the vast proportion of people who
spoke to me said, "I just walk straight into a second hand
shop and sell the property". They have got to dispose of
it as quickly as possible because usually we know who they are
so we are turning them over all the time and they are at risk
all the time they have got stolen property on them. They cannot
keep it at their houses because we will be going there and if
they have to rent somewhere it costs them money so they lose profit,
so they will want to dispose of it as quickly as possible and
they want a ready outlet.
3224. You are saying that the chain is actually
(Mr Murphy) Yes.
Unless it is something like the antiques trade or it is a vehicle
where there are processes they go through to make the property
3225. MR CLARKSON: Dealing with the
former, the antiques trade, what do you have in mind?
(Mr Murphy) It
could be something that is easily recognisable within the antiques
trade, for example. Somebody who has had a grandfather clock that
is worth a great deal of money may have photos of it, so if you
are a dealer and you are caught with it straight away it is going
to be stolen and recovered, so it needs to be legitimised. It
may go through a number of hands, through different auctions.
I could put something into an auction and buy it back myself,
put it in in one name and buy it back in another. Straight away
you legitimise it, I have got the property and sell it on to someone
else. If it does not turn up as stolen through those transactions
you have realised your cash.
3226. BARONESS O'CATHAIN: We are getting
a tutorial on how to be criminals!
3227. CHAIRMAN: You realise, I hope,
that the Committee is considering how it might make use of this
3228. MR CLARKSON: Let us have a look
at the scale of matters. Have you got this document?
(Mr Murphy) Yes.
3229. Just explain that chart on page six.
I think we have got a document we can circulate while you are
explaining that just bringing that up-to-date. (Same circulated)
(Mr Murphy) The
figures here show a baseline financial year of 2000-01 and then
the percentage change in recorded burglary dwelling figures and
recorded vehicle crime. Kent have reduced burglary by 6.9 per
cent and reduced vehicle crime by 18.9 per cent. The figures that
are being circulated to you are some figures that I had updated
the other day based on this financial year.
3230. What are they telling us either way?
(Mr Murphy) It
is showing that with intelligence-led policing if you put your
resources into the right problems, understand them and dismantle
the actual criminal business you will have a greater effect than
having a strategy of charge policing where everyone just goes
off and does their own thing, as it were. We do get quite a focus
on what we are trying to achieve and what outcomes are important.
3231. LORD TORDOFF: How many people
in this area are involved in this sort of crime? I ask that because
there was an attempted break-in at my house recently and a policeman
came round and said, "Oh dear, yes". He picked up his
phone, rang up someone and said, "Yes, I thought so, he came
out a fortnight ago". It was quite clear that he had a fairly
clear idea of who might have committed this unsuccessful crime.
(Mr Murphy) In
my area where I work in Ashford there are probably about 10-12
active burglars at this time and we will know who they are. Occasionally
we will get caught in the Ashford area because we are getting
a lot of people moving into the area because of the work, the
housing, et cetera, and the intelligence systems do not pick up
on them as quickly. We will go through a process, we will get
one burglary, two burglaries, and you start to see a pattern,
the time of day, the method of entry, what is being stolen, and
you will group them, get a pattern and put resources into the
area, either covertly or overtly, turn people over as such, search
them, find out who is in the area, speak to informants and slowly
you will get a pattern of a certain name keeps turning up so you
target that particular individual. The intelligence systems will
show up that they have just been released from prison three months
ago. Also, every two weeks we have a meeting whereby I am updated
on what the prison releases are going to be in three months' time
so we can put plans in place with other agencies to say, "We
know you are coming out of prison. We know where you are going
to live. We know you are disqualified from driving. We know you
have got a drug habit. If you go back to crime you are going straight
back to jail".
3232. MR CLARKSON: If we can stay with
that and take it forward from there. Under the new powers that
you achieved under the Kent Act you have got the information there
are 12 burglars in Ashford, you have the property you know has
been stolen, what has the Kent Act given you as an extra dimension
to crime prevention at the fencing end, if I can call it that.
(Mr Murphy) It
has made it a lot more difficult for someone to be criminally
active in the handling world because firstly they have got to
register and, secondly, if we get certain property stolen we will
go around the outlets where it is likely to be that people are
trying to sell it. We will take in descriptions and say, "Don't
buy this property. If someone does try to sell it to you, try
and stall them, keep the property here, get a picture of them
on your CCTV". We work with the traders to try and achieve
this. If we go back and they have bought the property we can recover
it through the channels or get forensic evidence from things they
have handled and touched. If they have filled in a receipt or
written something we can start getting forensic evidence from
handwriting samples. Quite often we have searched burglars' houses
and found receipts from the second hand shops that they kept of
stuff that they have stolen and sold on. They are a bit lazy sometimes
and do not dispose of some of the evidence. It takes it straight
3233. LORD FAULKNER OF WORCESTER: I
am not sure if this is a question for Mr Clarkson or Mr Murphy.
You have given us these updated figures and in the printed version
you made the point that the other forces listed in the table did
not have the benefit of this local legislation, and I assume that
remains the case because the local legislation has not spread
anywhere else. Clearly on the printed figures the Kent performance
is a great deal better than the others, however if you look at
the new figures that you have given us this morning there are
other forces whose crime reduction figures are now rather better
than Kent's and they have done that without this legislation.
Why is that?
(Mr Murphy) There
are a number of changes that have gone on in policing, and I could
spend all day talking about them, around the National Incident
Recording Standards which mean you have to record every single
incident phoned into a police area. If you are recording every
single incident it will increase the level of crime. The National
Recording Standards for Crime have changed and if you look at
the audit for how other forces are recording crime, recording
incidents, Kent gets a Gold Standard. We are saying we record
everything that comes in we record. I would not feel confident
to say that every other force is at that level yet. We have gone
for a central control room so we were able to implement some of
the Home Office systems straight away.
3234. MR CLARKSON: I think you have
a concept of similar authorities, do you not?
(Mr Murphy) Yes.
3235. Are those on the list?
(Mr Murphy) Yes,
that is the list.
3236. I beg your pardon. That does not help.
(Mr Murphy) Kent
Police have had a sustained crime reduction for seven or eight
years now. We started from a lower baseline in 2001 than other
forces, so reducing crime even further is more difficult for us.
For example, if Hampshire did not do anything for the first three
years they are going to get a big return if they clamp down on
it in the last two years.
3237. CHAIRMAN: For completeness, could
you just tell us what are the key characteristics that make these
(Mr Murphy) Size,
population density, crime profiles, they are seen as generally
3238. LORD FAULKNER OF WORCESTER: Is
your point that the Avon & Somerset performance, which is
the best on the new sheet, is an indication that they were not
doing very well beforehand and, therefore, they were starting
from a lower baseline?
(Mr Murphy) Last
year I went down to Exeter and spent three days there because
I thought they must be doing something we are not. When I went
down and listened they were starting to do what we did about three
or four years ago. There were a few things extra they were doing
which we have taken back and said "We need to start doing
some of this", but they were starting to drive the intelligence-led
approach and the neighbourhood policing agenda, so they were starting
to do what Kent had done three or four years ago and got the dividends
3239. Did they say to you: "We really
do envy you having your private legislation and the ability to
do this", or did they say: "We are doing okay ourselves
(Mr Murphy) Every
police officer I speak to about this legislation agrees that it
is a good idea.
3240. BARONESS O'CATHAIN: I am going
to ask two questions if I may. The first thing is, the real problem
with these sorts of statistics, speaking as a statistician, is
that it is only a percentage change, it does not give you the
quantum, so you do not know how many incidents are recorded there.
(Mr Murphy) I think
somebody has got that documentation here if you want to see it.
I have seen it in Mr Browne's pack, I think.
3241. That is quite interesting because sometimes
a 40.8 per cent reduction only means 100 incidents or something
whereas a lower reduction could mean a lot more. Secondly, a point
that directly resulted from Lord Faulkner's question. If all of
these police authorities think that Kent is so wonderful and the
legislation is so great and wish they had it, why has there not
been an effort by the whole of the police forces through ACPO
to petition Parliament or get a similar Act of Parliament which
(Mr Murphy) There
is a process happening at this time and my colleague at the back,
DCI Russell, has presented to the ACPO Acquisitive Crime Policy
Group on the Kent Acts, presenting this document, which the Home
Office are represented on, and they were asking questions about
national legislation. We would very much support national legislation.
3242. MR CLARKSON: But have you asked
DCI Russell, as I have this morning, is there any hope of public
(Mr Murphy) I have.
3243. What was the answer?
(Mr Murphy) Not
at this time, it is going very slowly. You have got to ask yourself
what is right for the victims in this, those people who have been
burgled or had their car stolen. You have to do what is right
for them. That is why Kent decided to go alone and get legislation
which allows us to block off some gaps.
3244. LORD TORDOFF: So you are saying
that you would not recommend people to hold back waiting for national
(Mr Murphy) No,
if you can get local legislation you definitely need to get it
because it will make a difference and it will make an impact.
3245. BARONESS O'CATHAIN: If that is
so, do you have any problems because your boundary is a discrete
bound, Kent, with East Sussex or anywhere else, London particularly?
(Mr Murphy) At
the north Kent borders of Gravesend and Dartford we would really
benefit from the metropolitan authorities taking on this legislation.
3246. MR CLARKSON: The next area I want
to headline is bureaucracy, additional bureaucracy. Is there a
(Mr Murphy) We
have not found one. From our experience of still talking to the
trade afterwards we have not seen a problem with legitimate dealers.
Our aim at the beginning was to have a blanket approach of making
sure everything that a dealer bought was recorded, names, addresses
and descriptions of everything they sold. That was our wish, as
such. We recognised through the process that we went through that
that was not going to be human rights compliant, was not going
to be justified and proportionate. When I was the project manager
I undertook to go back and look through our crime records to see
what we could justify as being stolen, what are the types of goods
that are regularly stolen. That is why you have got some strange
things. I heard animals came up earlier on. I could not find any
cases of stolen animals. That has changed and I do see that now.
(Mr Murphy) That
was not a crime in Kent, thankfully. It was based on a crime profile,
a crime problem that we could justify at that time to the Select
Committee where we had the problems.
3248. CHAIRMAN: Mr Murphy, on the bureaucracy
point, how many local authorities are involved in managing this
process within your area?
(Mr Murphy) Kent
County Council are the main lead on it but we have got 13 district
authorities plus Medway as a unitary.
3249. If you are a reputable dealer, let us
say, working in Kent but you are mobile and you are working across
a number of local authority boundaries, therefore, but remaining
within Kent, do you register just once?
(Mr Murphy) Yes.
3250. Therefore, the second tier local authority,
as it were, does not have to hold those records. Is that the case?
(Mr Murphy) No.
You register once. You can register either with your district
or with Kent County Council and you are registered for the lot.
In relation to the bureaucracy argument, if you are a dealer you
have got to be quite wise anyway because you are dealing in an
environment of second hand goods, you have got to make money out
of it and you cannot afford to get stung by anyone selling you
something that is not worth what they are telling you it is worth.
These people are reasonably wise to make a living anyway in whatever
type of environment they are working in, whether it is electrical
products, cars or antiques. The codes of conduct, the VAT margin
scheme, all of these things say that the best thing to do to protect
yourself is to keep records at both ends of the transaction, so
any wise dealer is going to be doing that anyway. I think they
would have difficulty trading if they did not.
3251. Can I press you just a little further
specifically on the bureaucratic element? Acknowledging that you
do not work in the Metropolitan area, do you see any particular
difficulties that might be experienced in London that are not
experienced in Kent in the implementation of this Bill were it
to become law?
(Mr Murphy) No,
I think it would be on a grander scale. We had things written
into the Bill around making sure we did a certain amount of advertising
and a press release. I think the call centre set-up that we had
for people to phone in and register and ask questions was extremely
useful and could be replicated. The guidance document was extremely
well received by the trade. They got a copy of that when they
registered and it told them the 20 most asked questions. We had
an intranet site which allowed them to look on the internet to
answer these questions for them. From speaking to my colleague
who is putting the legislation forward and the work that Trading
Standards are doing in London I think they would be able to manage
it just as well as the Kent Trading Standards.
3252. On a London-wide basis?
(Mr Murphy) On
a London-wide basis.
3253. MR CLARKSON: If it is a help just
to see how it is set out on page 12 of the Kent Report: "The
legislation was unfair on Kent Dealers. This concern was again
voiced by the antiques trade and this was perhaps due to the fact
that most dealers operate beyond the boundaries of Kent."
I think what is set there is what you have just identified in
your answer, am I right?
(Mr Murphy) Yes.
I was aware of this before I gave evidence so I went to several
markets to witness this hectic experience of rushing from one
trader to the other because Kent dealers were saying they would
be disadvantaged because they were going to have to get the name
and address of the person they were purchasing the good from and
if they were going to sell it for over £10, et cetera. Every
trade fair we went to, because the traders are quite strong about
making sure everyone pays for their pitch and no-one gets an advantage,
all the traders wore badges or various items. There are quite
quick ways of recording this kind of information so that it is
3254. In retrospect now it has been working
for a few years, is there a sense in Kent Police at all that the
dealers are finding it impossible to comply or finding it irksome
(Mr Murphy) No,
not at all. We are not getting that feedback at all. It has probably
brought us closer together because we can offer them some protection
and they can help to reduce crime. The last thing they want is
for us to turn up at their shop, their premises, their stall and
take several items of property away that are identified as stolen,
that they have paid money for. That is a loss to them and they
do not get it back. They can go through a long civil process of
trying to regain some of the money but the title is usually held
with the original owner, so it is quite a big loss to them if
they do get stung in that way.
3255. Let us go to pages 30 and 31 of the document.
It is the boxes there. Would you tell the Committee how it is
(Mr Murphy) On
the market reduction approach we make sure we undertake a number
of joint operations with Trading Standards to try and keep the
levels of acquisitive crime low at all times and that is based
on intelligence. You can see from the information here that the
number of intelligence reports gathered is over 5,500 and the
number of visits to registered premises over 2,000. It is not
just that we have arrested someone, because you can arrest someone
on reasonable suspicion, for it to be a successful measure for
us you have to charge someone, caution them or report them for
summons or recover some stolen property. We are looking at a 36
per cent positive outcome from the investment that we put in and
that has an effect on making sure that the trade remains legitimate.
You can sell it as an advantage as well because if you are a customer
buying from a second hand dealer you are more likely to be buying
something that has got legitimate provenance.
3256. CHAIRMAN: Is the 36 per cent return
on the investment as you have set it out here a good outcome compared
with other kinds of investigations?
(Mr Murphy) Most
definitely, yes. I can give you an example. The national detection
rate set for Kent this year was 24 per cent, 24 per cent of all
crime investigations should lead to a charge, caution or summons,
so coming in at 36 per cent is obviously quite high.
3257. MR CLARKSON: Is there any extra
we can glean from page 32, the box there, over and above what
you have told us already? Perhaps the recovery statistics are
(Mr Murphy) We
keep records on the value of property that we recover that is
stolen. It is never going to be as scientific as possible because
you may recover a car that was stolen two years ago. It was recovered
in this year but it was stolen two years ago, so the recovery
figures are not the stuff that is stolen that year. What you can
see there is it has gone down slightly but the level of crime
has gone down slightly so you are going to get a reduction in
crime. We do recover quite a larger percentage of stolen property.
That tells you about your markets and that it is worth targeting
the markets locally because the products are not going to Yorkshire
or the cars are not going to West Germany or wherever to be sold,
so things are staying local. It backs up the argument for having
local legislation rather than waiting for national.
3258. Can we go to the last point I want to
deal with. I want to go back to page 27 to see whether there is
a problem for the Association of Art and Antique Dealers who opposed
the legislation. Paragraph two: "The main opposition to the
legislation came from the antique trade and one of the petitioners,
the Association of Art and Antique Dealers, has produced a voluntary
code of due diligence which supports the need to keep comprehensive
records of transactions. The code includes the following statement:
'Create a paper trail. You should as a matter of normal practice
record the name and address of vendors as well as purchasers.
The Council for the Prevention of Art Theft has produced similar
guidelines for dealers which includes the following: 'Require
a vendor to provide their name and address and to sign a form
identifying the item for sale and confirming that it is the unencumbered
property of the vendor and that they are authorised to sell it,
and this form shall be dated.' Both of the above codes of practice
were in existence prior to the promotion of the Kent Acts. If
antique dealers had been following the voluntary codes there would
have been no reason for them to raise objection as they would
have been keeping the records required under the Kent Acts."
Is there anything you want to add to that?
(Mr Murphy) There
are parts of that code of practice which are more restrictive
on dealers than what the Act asks. If you read the LAPADA book,
the paragraph before the code spells out to traders and says:
"You are statistically likely to be a target for people trying
to sell stolen goods, so we recommend you do the following
It is best practice and it is what we try and instil in any type
of dealer of second hand goods.
3259. MR CLARKSON: Thank you.
3260. CHAIRMAN: It is 12.53. Would it
be convenient to postpone the cross-examination until after lunch
or do you anticipate, Mr Browne, you will be able to get through
it between now and one o'clock?
3261. MR BROWNE: I think I will be quite
3262. CHAIRMAN: In that case let us
Cross-examined by MR BROWNE
3263. MR BROWNE:
I do not want to waste a lot of your time. I would like to
ask one or two questions. I refer you to a document in my sheaf
of documents under K, which is the Special Report that the House
of Lords did preparatory to the Kent and Medway Bill. One point
that was made in this report on page two, under paragraph nine
was: "We strongly believe that any proposal to decrease the
market in stolen goods should decrease the market, not displace
it." I know you are a fan of national legislation, and I
feel we are at one on that, but do you not think there is a risk
that somebody who is intent on being a criminal is more likely
to take his activities outside of Kent if he has to register?
(Mr Murphy) If
you take it to the local level where I am at Ashford, we know
who our burglars are, we know what vehicles they drive, we know
if they want to get out of Kent they have got to go on the M2
or M20 and the traffic units will be briefed on who they are.
They are increasing their risk of being caught the longer they
are with their stolen property. There will be some who take that
risk and get to the Met borders or wherever and are able to sell
it but it will definitely make it more difficult to operate a
criminal business. I think it serves to reduce crime and prevent
crime rather than displace it. There will be a level of displacement
because there will always be someone who takes the risk but there
will be other people who are put off definitely.
3264. So your burglars stay put in Kent in
(Mr Murphy) Some
of them are disqualified and some of them do not drive.
3265. You have obviously done a very good job
in reducing crime. I would like to ask you about the Chris Hale
point on the market reduction approach which is made on page 19
of the report. The first thing that he says you should do is identify
the local problems. What do you think your main local problems
(Mr Murphy) At
present the main local problem is people swapping stolen property
for drugs and to some extent eBay or internet trading.
3266. The kind of property they are swapping
for drugs, in your experience what do they tend to focus on?
(Mr Murphy) It
can be the latest trend Playstation 2, Playstation 3. Where I
police we have got Woodchurch and Tenterden, a number of rural
properties that have all got antiques. Lord Mountbatten's property
just outside Ashford has recently been targeted and through the
help of the Kent Acts we managed to recover some of the property.
It can be a range of property that is being traded. If you are
a heroin addict and you need a hit in the next four hours you
are going to steal whatever you can sell. It is difficult to say
but at the moment I would say the trends are the latest electrical
items, there is a certain amount of shelf swiping going on where
they go into Boots and steal a whole shelf full of razors because
they are worth money and they can sell them. You can look at antiques
as an issue in our area, laptop computers. We will know where
the outlets are and we will use this information. Recently we
had golf clubs being stolen and we found them being sold on eBay
and the powers that we have got here allowed us to go into the
premises, it gives us the power of entry and once we are in there
eBay does not present the problems to the police that people think
because to sell on eBay you have got to hold the property somewhere
and if you are holding it at home you are vulnerable. You have
got to be able to describe it, put it on the computer, and the
computer is the key. Once you have got into that person's house
and you have seized their computer and got their password and
account you can work out everything they have sold and who it
has gone to. There are pictures and descriptions on there. The
difficulty is eBay is the organisation that holds that information
and it costs them money to provide it to the police. They could
be more helpful.
3267. The example you have given on the antiques
and eBay, that was a registered dealer, was it, using eBay?
(Mr Murphy) No,
the eBay example was somebody who was unregistered. They are now
registered. We are monitoring them closely and they are dealing
3268. You said that the Kent Act helped apprehend
him but, in fact, he was not registered at the time.
(Mr Murphy) It
provides us with the power of entry to go into their house.
3269. Do you not have that power already under
the Theft Act?
(Mr Murphy) You
have got to persuade a magistrate that they are buying and selling
stolen property for the Theft Act. For this Act you have just
got to persuade them that they are trading without being registered.
3270. So you do have to get a warrant, do you?
(Mr Murphy) If
it is a dwelling you do. If it is a dwelling that they are using
as their business premises you do not.
3271. In this case it was a dwelling and you
had to get a warrant.
(Mr Murphy) We
got a warrant to be safe because we did not know what we were
going into. We thought we could justify getting a warrant without
3272. Essentially in this case the advantage
the Kent Act gave you was you had to make a lesser case to the
magistrate for a warrant, is that what you are saying?
(Mr Murphy) No,
at the back end it also provided us with powers for the investigation
because I could sit and interview someone and they could say,
"I bought it from a person in a pub, I paid £50"
and if I have not got further evidence to show that they have
not, ie I have done some covert surveillance to show that they
bought it from someone else and it was suspicious or they knew
it was stolen, to put the case before the court I have got to
prove beyond reasonable doubt that they knew or believed it was
stolen. With a vast amount of the stolen property they had there
I could not prove it, however I could prove that they were not
registered and were not keeping records, so we prosecuted them
under the Kent Acts.
3273. So you prosecuted them not for theft
but for not keeping records?
(Mr Murphy) That
is correct, yes.
3274. MR BROWNE: Better than nothing.
I do not think I have got any more questions.
3275. CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much,
Mr Browne, that was extremely timely. We will break for lunch
and resume with re-examination by Mr Clarkson.
3276. MR CLARKSON: I have none.
3277. CHAIRMAN: That is very helpful
too. We will start with you, Mr Browne, in that case. Thank you.
We will resume at one minute past two.
The witness withdrew
After a short adjournment
3278. CHAIRMAN: Let us resume, Mr Browne,
3279. MR BROWNE: Thank you very much
indeed. Although I have been asking questions perhaps I ought
to introduce myself. I am Anthony Browne, and I am Chairman of
the British Art Market Federation. I am formally instructed on
behalf of the Federation to present their petition in accordance
with the wishes of our Executive Committee, and I settled the
petition on behalf of the Federation. I would first like to give
some background about the organisations that I represent. They
are: the Antiquarian Booksellers Association, probably the only
association that is exempted from this Bill; the Antiquities Dealers
Association, of which seven members are based in London and Greater
London; Bonhams, which has two salerooms here in London; the British
Antique Dealers Association, which has 207 businesses that it
represents in Greater London; Christie's, which has two salerooms
here; the Association of Art and Antique Dealers, which has 224
members here in Greater London; the Society of Fine Art Auctioneers
and Valuers, which mainly represents auctioneers in the regions
but has two members in London, the Society of London Art Dealers,
which has 108 art dealers that it represents here in London, and
Sotheby's, which has two salerooms. I also represent the Royal
Institution of Chartered Surveyors insofar as some of their members
work in the art market, and I ought perhaps to preface this by
saying that, unlike Mr Clarkson, I am afraid I am not a lawyer.
My background is totally in the art market where I have worked
all my life.
3280. CHAIRMAN: We feel sure you could
pass in polite company, Mr Browne, on evidence so far.
3281. MR CLARKSON: Even better!
3282. MR BROWNE: I would like to paint
a picture of why London is very important in the context of this
Bill and in the context of the art market here as a whole. The
British art market accounts for sales of approximately £4,200
million a year and has a global market share of the international
art market of just over 25 per cent and it accounts on its own
for 50 per cent of the European market. It has 10,217 businesses,
according to the last survey, providing employment for 37,000
people, and it also generates a considerable amount of employment
in ancillary businesses, such as restoration, conservation, printing,
insurance and so on. The jobs that that creates are thought to
be about 11,000 additional jobs.
3283. A crucial point that I want to mention
is that we are, very unusually in Europe and certainly second
only to New York, an entrepôt market here which depends
very heavily on imports and exports, on selling our services,
because after all we are essentially just a service industry,
selling our services to clients throughout the world. As a tangible
example of that, in 2004, which is the latest year for which I
have figures, art and antiques to the value of £1,471 million
were imported into the United Kingdom from outside the European
Union and exports totalled £2,191 million, and that, of course,
does not include the figures from within the European Union because
since the creation of the single market they are not recorded
in the same way.
3284. I would like to begin by making the two
basic arguments that we have against Part 4 of the London Local
Authorities Bill. Our first point is that we think that the piecemeal
approach that has been used and that this Bill symbolises is wrong.
We think that it is much better to have a national approach to
the problem of the market in second hand goods, which is likely,
if you do that, to be far more effective and would be certainly
less confusing. Continuing the process of having similar but very
slightly different legislation, local legislation, enacted on
a piecemeal basis in some parts of the UK and not in others will
create avoidable and unnecessary confusion for the legitimate
market in cultural goods.
3285. Our second point is that before legislating
it is surely necessary to identify more precisely the problem
that the legislation is intended to tackle. There needs to be
a rigorous examination of the nature of the problem that the proposed
measures are intended to address so that the remedies are proportionate
and bear down on the criminal without imposing an unnecessary
burden on the legitimate market and its clients. This means defining
what is meant by the market in second hand goods and identifying
where criminal activity is taking place. In the time available
to me I want to expand on a number of points, some of which have
been touched on by Mr Clarkson this morning.
3286. I first want to talk about the market
for cultural goods as distinct from the generic term "second
hand goods". The generic term seems to encompass a wide variety
of objects from used cars to electrical consumer goods, as we
have heard this morning, and I want particularly to draw your
attention to the detailed study carried out by the Illicit Trade
Advisory Panel set up by the DCMS in 2000; that is document B
in the pack of documents that I have handed out, and, secondly,
the inappropriateness of perpetuating further a piecemeal approach.
All informed opinion appears to agree that a national approach
would be far more effective and less confusing. Thirdly, we contend
that this Bill is premature since the Home Office has already
announced its intention to consult on national legislation. Fourthly,
before proceeding any further, either with local or national legislation,
the effectiveness of existing legislation surely needs to be rigorously
assessed. The evidence of the efficacy of the Kent and Medway
Acts in our view is inconclusive from the report. It is therefore
all the more important that a thorough study is undertaken at
a national level to decide on the nature of the criminal problems
and that the proposals are designed to address effectively these
problems and provide remedies for them.
3287. Why we are particularly concerned about
the Bill is because London is a huge international centre for
art and antiques. In terms of the art market, London is very different
from the local authority areas which already have legislation
of this sort in place, and it is surely a mistake to proceed with
the imposition of added bureaucratic burdens on the second largest
art and antiques market in the world without a thorough assessment
being made of their appropriateness. Finally, I want to touch
on the points about the existing record keeping requirements and
regulatory structures that already relate to the art and antiques
market in the context of the details of Part 4.
3288. Coming back to the targeted approach,
we have always as a federation supported proportionate and targeted
measures that bear down on criminal behaviour in the field of
cultural property. Our federation's approach was very well summed
up by our President, Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, in the
debate on the Dealing in Cultural Objectives (Offences) Bill in
September 2003, when he said - and it is the photocopy of Hansard
under A in our documents, column 547: "BAMF has been closely
involved with the drafting of the Bill. It has from the beginning
fully supported the Bill's aims. However, it was also concerned
that the Bill should focus unambiguously on criminal activity
and not give rise to unintended difficulties for those working
in the legitimate marketplace."
3289. The Dealing in Cultural (Offences) Bill
came about as a result of a report produced at the Government's
request by the Illicit Trade Advisory Panel under the chairmanship
of Professor Norman Palmer, in which I took part, and that is
the report to which I have already referred as document B. I want
to take a little bit of time to focus on that report in more detail
because one of the things that it does is to confine its attention
purely to the market in cultural goods. The term "second
hand goods", as I have said before, covers a huge spectrum
of objects including, according to the Kent Report, some goods
which to my mind seem to be brand new, like counterfeit DVDs.
BAMF members for the most part are concerned with the sale of
cultural goods and as good a definition as possible of these,
which is used in the context of export licensing and, indeed,
as I will come to, for the Unesco Convention, is to be found attached
as an annex to European Council Regulation No. 3911 of December
1992, and that is document C in the documents I have provided.
These are the definitions which are generally used in respect
of export licensing and definitions used by the Government, and
it is significant in the context of this that our sponsoring ministry
is the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.
3290. We believe that trying to distinguish
what is meant by "cultural property" against the background
of all these other things that we have been talking about this
morning is very important and, as I hope to demonstrate, we question
whether a measure designed to deal with problems such as counterfeit
consumer goods, unsafe vehicles and electrical goods and stolen
consumer goods, as we have heard this morning, is also necessarily
relevant to the field of cultural property. We believe that "second
hand goods" is too general a term to enable specific problems
to be satisfactorily dealt with by deploying the same legislation
to address them. The Illicit Trade Advisory Panel specifically
focused, as its name suggests, on the illicit market in cultural
property and identified where the problem areas were before suggesting
specifically targeted remedies to those problems.
3291. One of the problems common to all the
analyses is that the available statistical evidence makes little
or no distinction between the theft of laptops and video machines
on the one hand and of works of art and antiques on the other.
The Police Information Technology Organisation, PITO, - and this
is document D amongst the documents I have given you - drew attention
to this difficulty of separating cultural property from general
data on stolen goods in its draft report dated 14 November 2001.
PITO had been given the task of investigating the options for
creating a national database of stolen and illegally removed cultural
property. This came about as a result of one of the Illicit Trade
Advisory Panel recommendations, recommendation 6 on page 6, and
a recommendation also made by the House of Commons Select Committee
on Culture, Media and Sport on 18 July 2000, which is document
E. The PITO study was designed to look at the feasibility of a
nationally available database. One of its recommendations which
is germane to the point I am trying to make is recommendation
2 of the PITO report, document D, in which it says, "A decision
should be made as to whether 'Cultural Property' should be separately
classified for the purpose of Home Office crime recording codes".
3292. CHAIRMAN: I am sorry, Mr Browne.
We are trying to keep up with you. If you could just give us time
to reach your reference points we will follow you through the
3293. MR BROWNE: Very good, and I am
sorry; I am galloping through it. If you have the PITO report
and recommendation 2, that is the point that I wanted to draw
attention to, that the Police Intelligence Technology Organisation
as part of their study of this feasibility of a national database
on cultural property specifically made the point that it is necessary
to try and make some sort of distinction, and that is very much
central to some of the things we want to talk about. This is also
reflected in the same document in paragraph 6.1.2, in which it
says, "At present there is neither the requirement, in terms
of Home Office classification of offences, nor the capability,
within disparate police crime recording systems, to categorise
property specifically as art, antique, collectable or cultural".
3294. Coming back to the Illicit Trade Advisory
Panel report, in its research into the market in stolen cultural
goods the panel did actually touch on this difficulty of trying
to separate cultural property and I took part in a sub-committee
of the panel with the then Director of the British Museum and
we studied the statistical evidence of exactly how much of the
records of theft related specifically to cultural goods because
there had been quite a lot of misleading statistics about that.
For example, the Association of British Insurers had no detailed
breakdown of domestic burglary claims but noted that the majority
of them involved burglaries of cash, personal items of jewellery
and electrical goods, and the association recorded in the year
1998-1999 that there were 571,000 such claims totalling £551
million. We were able to refine this by reference to specialised
art insurers at Lloyds, and in 1999 their losses totalled £16.5
million of which £14 million was one claim (a painful claim
for the insurer) and it did help us to provide some sort of focus
to the precise area of the market we were looking at.
3295. The Illicit Trade Advisory Panel was
set up specifically to do this by Alan Howarth, then Arts Minister,
and its terms of reference are to be found on page 5. They were
to consider the nature and extent of the international trade in
art and antiquities and the extent to which the UK is involved
in this, and to consider how most effectively, both through legislative
and non-legislative means, the UK could play its part in preventing
and prohibiting the illicit trade and to advise the Government
accordingly. The panel undertook comprehensive research into the
scale and nature of the illicit market in cultural goods, resulting
in the report that you have in front of you, which was published
in December 2000, and the panel made a number of recommendations
designed to combat criminal activity. These were intended to supplement
existing British and European legislation, and I have included
amongst the papers for your committee a list of current British,
European and international legislation that affects the art and
antiques market, which was produced by Pierre Valentin of Withers,
and that you will find as item F.
3296. I want you to see this as I believe it
does demonstrate the present regulatory structure that surrounds
the art and antiques market, but the panel addressed itself to
specific areas where further legislation we thought was necessary,
and one such example was the Dealing in Cultural Objects (Offences)
Act 2003, the text of which is document G. I hold this out as
an example of what I am talking about because it is a targeted
and proportionate measure which was intended to plug a gap in
legislation where the offence of handling could not be made to
stick against somebody, particularly in the field of looted antiquities,
which is covered under section 2 principally in that Act. Lord
Renfrew, who was a member of the panel, was particularly concerned,
of course, about archaeology, being a leading archaeologist himself,
and it was decided that we needed to have this offence because,
although there had been successful prosecutions under the offence
of handling, principally the Tokeley Parry case where a dealer
was prosecuted under the offence of handling because he was found
in possession of Egyptian antiquities. The Egyptian Government
actually own everything under their soil, so they could prove
the offence of handling in that particular instance. But it was
not always possible to do that if you did not know where the looted
antiquities came from, so this was, as I say, a measure that was
designed specifically to address that quite important but fairly
3297. I would make the point also that we supported
this legislation totally and its sponsor, Richard Allan MP, acknowledged
this on a number of occasions, for example, commenting on an amendment
that we put forward to try and clarify one point in the Bill.
He said, and I am not trying to blow my own trumpet here; he just
happened to say this, that it was "the result of a lot of
work done by Anthony Browne of the British Art Market Federation,
an organisation that has approached the Bill in a constructive
manner". He also said, "It has sought to make sure that
the offence is properly and tightly drafted so that the legitimate
can conduct its business properly". A similar
point was made in the House of Lords by Lord McIntosh of Haringey,
the Minister responsible for this Bill in the House of Lords.
He said, and I have enclosed the Hansard if you want to
consult it; it is the same one I referred to with Lord Brooke
and the quote is highlighted, "
throughout the proceedings
of the Illicit Trade Advisory Panel, this Bill has had the support
of both the heritage community and the legitimate art and antiquities
trade". I mention all this in order to emphasise that we
would not be here opposing this Bill if we considered that the
proposals in Part 4 constituted an effective and proportionate
way of dealing with criminal activity and did not impose an unnecessary
layer of administration on the legitimate market in cultural property.
3298. The objectives of Part 4 of the present
Bill are, surprisingly, not described in the Explanatory Memorandum
at all. Its preamble in the Bill, which is preamble number 5 on
page 1 of the Bill, merely states that it is expedient that provision
be made for the registration of dealers in second hand goods.
As your committee knows, this provision rests with other provisions
relating to advertising, graffiti, waste, litter, chewing gum,
nuisance vehicles, hostess bars, street trading, et cetera, which
points to us that the ethos of this Bill really relates to the
control of certain public and street nuisances. We would question
that a major policy change in the treatment of art and antiques
does not fit very well within the context of this Bill. It seems
also clear that the proposed Bill is primarily aimed at resale
of stolen consumer items, as we heard this morning, in what one
might refer to as the informal market place of car boot sales
and other occasional sales in temporary premises.
3299. One clue as to what the borough which
initiated this felt about it is to be found in a press release
issued by the borough of Enfield in November 2004, which is document
I in your papers, in which Terry Neville, Enfield Council's Environment
Chief, was quoted as saying, "While most second hand dealers
are entirely honest and above board, there are those unscrupulous,
Arthur Daley types, whose lack of business propriety fan the flames
of criminal activity in London." But the Bill requires the
registration for all as a response to the Arthur Daley problem,
although the same press release, by the way, acknowledged, as
we have heard this morning, that the residential burglaries in
Enfield were at their lowest level since 1979, although I understand
that for some reason they are now going up again, and this without
the assistance of registration, of course. Mr Neville in his press
release also commented that businesses should not be shackled
with additional bureaucracy, a point with which, I must say, we