The Award is presented annually by the British Hallmarking Council to acknowledge the best initiative in enforcing Hallmarking.
Trading Standards Officers from the London Borough of Southwark benefitted hugely from their status as winner of the Touchstone Award 2014.
As well as strong PR surrounding their win the worthy winners for 2014 were presented with the prestigious award at the Trading Standards Conference in July. The last week of November then saw the team receive the second, very beneficial element of their award, a day at Goldsmiths’ Hall which included a full tour of the Hallmarking operation and a very informative presentation from Deputy Warden, Robert Organ.
Chairman of the British Hallmarking Council Mr Christopher Jewitt also took the opportunity to present the award to Councillor Michael Situ (Cabinet Member for Community Safety) of the London Borough of Southwark, in the presence of key members of his Trading Standards Team.
Ten members of staff, including Deborah Collins, Strategic Director of Environment and Leisure, attended the presentation in the magnificent surroundings of Goldsmiths’ Hall. They were given a two hour tour of the Assay Office, witnessing its detailed operation, after which they joined members of the London Assay Office for lunch.
In the afternoon, they participated in a hallmarking training session given by the Deputy Warden of the Assay Office, Dr. Robert Organ.
Southwark’s operation revealed fraudulent trading, resulting in more than 1300 items of jewellery being seized. (Many were marked 925, but the Assay Office confirmed that the items were not silver.) Further investigations revealed Hallmarking and Trade Mark offences, including counterfeit hallmarks. Subsequent enquiries showed that consumers had purchased counterfeit items of jewellery via the internet.
As a result of these serious offences, Southwark is proceeding with a confiscation hearing under the proceeds of Crime Act 2002. A true success story.
The closing date for 2015 applications is 24th April 2015 and applications for the Touchstone Award are welcomed from all those involved in enforcing Hallmarking in the UK. The application process is very straightforward and should not be a barrier to entry.