The Art Newspaper has posted a story about the Metropolitan Police's effort to recruit members of the art world to its Art and Antiques Unit (in danger of being disbanded if it's not able to start paying its own way).
Art Beat Special Constables are being recruited from museums such as the Victoria & Albert and the British Museum, universities, insurance companies and other cultural organisations. After four weeks training in police procedure as well as specialist art squad techniques, volunteers will be sponsored by their employers to work as Special Constables for 200 hours a year or one day a fortnight. They will be uniformed and will have full police powers.
“The aim is to build bridges between the police and the art world and maintain a high visibility presence in areas with a high level of art sales,” said DS Rapley. “This could include patrolling antiques markets like Bermondsey or areas with clusters of art dealers like Kensington Church Street, Bond Street or Camden Passage, or undercover intelligence work.”
The Art Newspaper story
Interestingly, the Met police are London's largest employer
Recruitment - www.met.police.uk
The story has caused a bit of tongue-in-cheek commentary on various blogs, including Edward Winkleman's. However, given last year's spate of art thefts in new Zealand, maybe we could think about freeing some of our directors' time up so that they can give back to the art world?
Ray Haydon sculpture stolen from Parnell gallery - www.scoop.co.nz
Sarah Courtney sculpture stolen from Hawkes Bay gallery - Hawkes Bay today
Helme Hein sculpture stolen from property in Russell - TVNZ website
Image: A stolen silver carriage clock, from S.L.A.D - the Met's Stolen London Art Database