On 7-11 April 2014 in Rome, 30 participants from 21 Member States, two Associated Countries, one Candidate Country and a representative from Europol took part in the course on protection of cultural heritage.
The course, organised by the Italian CEPOL Unit, the Department for Protection of Cultural Heritage (Carabinieri Corps), with support from Spain, The Netherlands and from UNODC, Unidroit, Interpol and ICOM, was hosted at the Scuola di Perfezionamento per le Forze di Polizia and opened by the Director of the School, Major General of Carabinieri Riccardo Amato.
The aims of the course were to share best practices and knowledge about prevention strategies as well police cooperation in order to fight the illicit trafficking of cultural goods.
Lecture topics included; criminal actions in the damage to cultural heritage as counterfeiting, looting of archaeological sites, art thefts, existing international conventions, the restitution of cultural goods illicitly exported, and to the psychological effects of the mob and rioters that cause damage to historical buildings or ancient monuments.
Each participant presented their national situation and working groups provided opportunity to discuss and exchange opinions on the different approaches that each country adopts in the fight against art crime.
A visit was arranged to the Department of Carabinieri for the Protection of Cultural Heritage where participants were briefed about the “PSYCHE project” - an Interpol database of works of art. A second visit, to the Vatican Museums, made the participants aware of the prevention measures needed for assuring the security of cultural objects exposed in museums.
The course received positive feedback on all activities, and in particular for the visit to the Vatican Museums that provided a significant insight to the means of intervention as well as the situation room and security systems.