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Vandalism, metal theft and security challenges at our valuable heritage sites and museums have prompted police forces and security professionals to remind people of what they need to do to keep their properties safe. Many of our museums, galleries and other public buildings are understaffed due to the COVID-19 pandemic making them attractive targets for thieves. And the cost of burglaries from these valuable institutions, combined with the impact of the pandemic, can potentially be disastrous.
Recent incidents have highlighted the need to review security processes to ensure that every possible precaution is taken to avoid being targeted by thieves and vandals. These recommendations also apply to churches, business premises, schools, youth centres and leisure establishments - many of which are more vulnerable due to low occupancy during the pandemic.
The property of a Thames valley brain injury charity (Headway) has become a target for anti social behaviour prompting the council to consider the installation of CCTV security cameras. People have been using the gardens of the property to congregate and the roof was damaged by people climbing onto it. A council initiative to deter and prevent people from climbing onto the rooftop included the deployment of anti-climb paint on the property walls.
Another recent target for vandals has been a derelict swimming baths building in Aberdeen. Intruders caused significant, expensive damage when they broke into the building. Once inside, the danger-seeking risk-takers climbed to the top of the diving tower simply to take selfie images. To climb the diving tower the vandals had to overcome the existing anti climb paint which appears to have held them back, delaying their progress. But they persisted and in the process will have picked up tell-tale anti climb paint on their hands and possibly their clothes. Parents have been advised that if their children come home with black hands or clothing they should know that this may be caused by anti climb paint which was used around the swimming baths building.
Metal theft incidents have prompted police forces throughout the UK to encourage people to be vigilant. One recently reported crime involved the theft of around 100kg of copper and 50kg of bronze, stolen from a workshop premises. In another, two males were seen loading around 50-100m of valuable copper cable into their vehicle. And another widely reported metal theft crime resulted in around 45,000 homes being left without power due to the theft overhead power cables by an organised criminal gang who are now behind bars.
The theft of lead from church rooftops has also been in the news with one organised criminal gang of 4 men being jailed for 22 years. Sadly, the damage impact on the grade 1 and grade 2 listed churches was way in excess of the value of the metal that was stolen. Attacks like this often lead to rain water getting into these ancient buildings causing irreparable damage to priceless, unique artifacts.
Police forces have reminded property owners and managers, especially those where valuable metal can be found, to take adequate security precautions. One of their primary recommendations being that guttering, drainpipes and other structures that might be used as climbing aids, should be coated with anti-climb paint that can both prevent climbing and aid the identification of criminals as it marks their skin and clothing when they come into contact with it.
The security challenges faced by museums, galleries, stately homes and other heritage properties have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Lockdowns have meant fewer onsite staff, making these valuable venues, which are full of priceless artifacts, attractive targets for criminals.
Museums and galleries already face an uncertain future due to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. For many, losses incurred as a result of burglary are likely to result in permanent closure.
Museums and managers of heritage sites have been advised to review their security processes and reinforce security measures to protect against criminals. Discretion is advised as crime reports can be a gift to thieves by indicating the value of potentially stolen items along with the means used to break into buildings.
Security advice provided by police forces and security consultants includes the following valuable recommendations.
Anti climb paint, used in conjunction with other precautions as part of an overall security strategy, is always in the list of recommendations provided by police forces.
Anti climb paint is often referred to as security paint, anti vandal paint or simply intruder-paint. It’s a highly effective anti climb measure for fences, walls, pipework and other structures that intruders or vandals may want to climb. It’s a specially formulated petroleum gel based paint that’s applied as a thick coat which doesn’t set. It stays in gel form, presenting a very slippery surface that remains in that state. Although it doesn’t set it isn’t runny like regular paint. It’s viscosity allows it to be applied to vertical surfaces without running off which makes it ideal for walls, CCTV poles, drain pipes and other vertical structures that attract climbers.
By far the most popular anti climb paint colour is black which works with the aesthetics of most buildings. It’s applied using a brush to a thickness of around 4 to 5 mm making the applied surface far too slippery to gain a purchase.
Anti climb paint remains effective for up to around 4 or 5 years, avoiding the need for frequent re-applications. Insight Security has been supplying anti-climb paint to customers for over 25 years and their feedback has been consistently positive.
Being easy to apply makes anti-climb paint very much a DIY anti climb precaution, but property owners need to be aware of their responsibilities and never apply the paint in areas where people can easily come into contact with it. Generally, it’s recommended that anti-vandal paint is only applied to surfaces above a height of 2m. And people should be advised of the paint with appropriately located warning signs which, as noted, also act as an anti climb deterrent.
If you need help with any aspects of perimeter security and anti climb precautions please give us a call on 01273 475500. We are always happy to help.
This message was added on Thursday 18th February 2021
Need Help or Advice?
Call the Insight team
01273 475 500