ALR's work with Law Enforcement
We offer professional, specialist support for all domestic and international law enforcement agencies and customs departments working to reduce the global trade in lost, stolen and looted artwork. All ALR services are free for law enforcement and agencies can be issued with a personal point of contact or telephone number for out of hours assistance.
Over the last twenty years the ALR has forged strong links with the Metropolitan Police, FBI, Carabinieri, OCBC, KLPD and Interpol as well as hundreds of regional art and antiques units. It is the ALR’s firm belief that such partnerships are invaluable in the international fight against art crime and the wider education of the market.
Law enforcement agencies can set up free ALR website accounts which allow officers to search and register items as soon as a crime is reported or an investigation opened. The prompt registration of a stolen object can prevent any ‘good faith’ sale or purchase, aid in the ultimate recovery of an object and help gather valuable intelligence on the movement of the missing work.
The ALR processes approx. 300,000 search requests each year against its database of over 380,000 registered items. The catalogues of major international auction houses are systematically searched prior to sale and art fairs, dealers, collectors, insurers and museums submit regular searches as part of their due diligence procedures.
The ALR’s multi-lingual specialists offer:
- fast, free and confidential searches for law enforcement agencies and customs officials worldwide
- in-depth art historical reports and advice
- expert witness testimony and evidence
- under-cover buyers
- the onsite cataloguing and searching of objects during the execution of search warrants
Red Flag List
In addition to the primary search of an object against the ALR database all available provenance is cross checked against the ALR Red Flag (‘RF’) and Cautions Lists. The RF list contains a record of collections from which items were seized or forcibly sold between 1933 and 1945 as well as the names of art dealers who are known to have cooperated with the Nazi Party.
Similarly the Cautions List records organisations who are known to have faked, forged, stolen, sold without authority, illegally transported or looted works of art. A significant number of the names included on the Cautions List are registered from Alerts issued by law enforcement agencies.
The ALR accepts registrations of any uniquely identifiable items of artistic or cultural import. This includes:
- objets d’art
- garden statuary
- architectural salvage (incl. fireplaces)
- rugs and tapestries
- religious objects
- musical instruments
- dolls, toys and teddy bears
- armour and antique firearms
- classic cars
Objects are permanently registered on the database and the ALR retains copies of everything submitted at the point of registration. The ALR archive is therefore an invaluable resource for law enforcement agencies that are no longer able to identify or access the original case files or theft report for a registered item.
In addition to the traditional registration of lost, stolen and looted items the ALR offers law enforcement agencies the opportunity to search and register so called ‘Orphan Items’. These are objects subject to an active criminal investigation or seizure but for which no theft victim has been identified. In many cases this stems from the object being lost or stolen in one jurisdiction and identified in another.
The ALR provides quick, confidential searches of ‘Orphan Items’ in order to identify any registered theft victims or claimants. Any unregistered objects are then added on to the ALR database as ‘Orphans’. In the event that a theft victim is identified or a claimant later comes forward the ALR has a record of the investigation / seizure and can put the relevant parties in touch.
While the ALR does not offer formal authenticity or appraisal services we are currently developing a database of fakes and forgeries with a corresponding alert system.
The ALR’s multi-lingual fakes team offer:
- registration of artworks identified as fakes / forgeries
- fast, confidential search of suspected fakes / forgeries
- advice and referrals to the relevant Foundations or catalogue raisonne