Review recommends measures to boost security at Norwich’s Castle Museum

A review following the theft of valuable Nelson memorabilia and the attempted theft of a rhino horn from Norwich Castle has recommended a number of measures to boost security at Norfolk's museums.

Improved locking systems on display cases, using volunteers more widely to help with gallery invigilation and extra CCTV coverage are among items included in the review to be discussed by Norfolk's joint museums and archaeology committee on Friday.

Although the review was specifically concerned with security at Norwich Castle, the action plan relates to the whole of Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service.

Barry Stone, Norfolk County Council's cabinet member for cultural services, said: 'A number of museums across the region have been targeted by thieves and it is important to highlight that the museums service is taking every step possible to try and ensure that no thefts occur from Norfolk's museums in the future. The service has begun implementing improvements from its existing budgets and I'm sure that the committee will be interested to hear the longer-term plan and weigh up any more costly proposals.'

The report said a county-wide evaluation of display cases had been undertaken and improvements included improved locking systems and the installation of trembler alarms. Objects considered at risk have been taken off display pending security improvements.

The review spoke of additional CCTV coverage installed in Norwich Castle galleries, and a CCTV camera to be repositioned at the main entrance to capture visitor images.

Other action suggested by the review included increased use of volunteers for invigilation purposes - although the review said there would be a need to refer to the county council's volunteer guidelines and it would be subject to union consultation.

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It also said staff had been instructed to increase vigilance, and that the employment of a security guard with responsibility for patrolling in Norwich Castle was being costed.

The report said: 'Until this year it should be noted that NMAS had an exemplary record with regard to museum security, and the Arts Council museum security adviser still considers that Norwich Castle security systems are suitable to receive loans from national museums.'

The attempted theft of the rhino horn happened in February. Five days later it was discovered Nelson memorabilia worth more than �36,000 had been taken from the museum.