Antiques Trade Gazette
BAMF defuse threat from London Bill
THE London trade can breathe a sigh of relief. The British Art Market Federation (BAMF) have won their battle to stop a new Government Bill introducing draconian measures to regulate the capital’s dealers and auction houses.
The London Local Authorities Bill had included proposals to substantially boost police powers of entry, search and seizure. There were also new requirements for dealers in second-hand goods to register with their local councils and plans to tie up business further with complex record keeping.
The Bill follows earlier legislation, including the Kent Act, aimed at preventing the illegal trade in second-hand goods. Although not specifically targeted at the art and antiques trade, it draws dealers and auctioneers into its ambit.
BAMF supported targeted legislation to deal with the problem of crime, but felt the measures proposed by the Bill were not targeted properly and risked causing serious damage to legitimate business interests. As a result,BAMF chairman Anthony Browne and President Lord Brooke launched a solitary but rigorous campaign against the proposals. Among their concerns-later shared by the Home Office and three other departments-were the hugely enhanced police powers being proposed. Police Officers would have been able to gain entry to property and to search for and seize goods without a warrant.
Now, however, it has been agreed that the entire section of the Bill affecting these powers, Part Four, will be dropped.
"I am glad that the promoters of the LLA Bill have finally acknowledged the strong case made by BAMF against the measures proposed in Part 4," said Mr Browne. "The complicated requirement for all dealers and auction houses in London to register with their local councils, to keep duplicate records and to be subject to unprecedented and, in our view, unjustified police powers of entry, search and seizure of property would have enveloped the second largest art market in the world in an unnecessary added layer of bureaucracy."
Art Hostage comments:
For anyone interested in trying to prevent art related crime this decision is a real kick in the bollocks.
As we speak, art crooks are putting up stolen art all over their houses knowing that the police will not come looking because of the clear evidence needed to obtain a warrant for a search.
Big, big, victory for the art criminals and the stolen art trade in London.
Should have said that stolen art funds terrorists, then these rules would have been implemented.
Not only have art loss investigators got handcuffs on, Law enforcement is now going to be wearing blind-folds.
Back to the book-keeping for Vernon Rapley, Head of Scotland Yard's Art and Antiques Squad.
One of the men, left, was described as having an irritation in his eye
The men went into Castle Antiques in Victoria Court, Burnham-on-Sea, last Thursday afternoon and asked to look at a piece of jewellery.
They left, but returned about 15 minutes later and snatched several gold chains and bracelets while the owner tried to stop them.
The pair were described as white, aged 25 to 35. They both wore dark clothing.
One of the thieves is about 5ft 8ins (1.8m) tall, of stocky build, with a slight beard and an irritation in his left eye.
The second man, who was slightly taller, was of slimmer build.