In Mexico they’ve just created a new division of the Federal Police which will recruit officers with knowledge of archaeology and art to tackle theft of cultural artifacts. The training of officers is being carried out with the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) and the National Institute of Fine Arts (INBA). It’s a bit like the efforts the British police have made, albeit rather more robust.

But there’s a crucial difference between Mexico and here. In Britain mining for archaeological and heritage items is a big industry, and almost entirely legal and sustained, encouraged and promoted from the public coffers. Here, we even pay scores of Portable Antiquities Scheme employees to attend hundreds of crass grabfests up and down the country (over 500 so far – see here ) smiling yet knowing full well (but never admitting to the public) that a high proportion of finds aren’t reported to them (which is blatant cultural theft of cultural artefacts) or to the owner (which is blatant criminal theft of cultural artefacts).

Mexicans, eh? They know nothing! (Incidentally, the redeployment of three Detective Constables from antiques to investigation of the Grenfell tragedy leaves London, the world’s second-largest market for art and antiques, unsupervised by any specialist police officers).

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