New Unit To Tackle Online Piracy

A new police unit has been announced that will seek to tackle intellectual property crimes such as online piracy and counterfeit goods.

Intellectual Property Minister, Lord Younger and City of London Police Commissioner, Adrian Leppard launched the unit today.

The government claims it will be one of the first units of its kind in the world.

The Intellectual Property Office will provide £2.5m in funding over two years to the City of London Police, which is the National Lead Force for fraud.

It is expected the unit will be up and running in September.

Minister for Intellectual Property, Lord Younger said: "Intellectual property crime has long been a problem in the world of physical goods, but with the growing use of the internet, online intellectual property crime is now an increasing threat to our creative industries. These industries are worth more than £36bn a year and employ more than 1.5m people.

"Government and our law enforcement agencies must do all they can to protect our creative industries and the integrity of consumer goods. By working with the City of London Police, who have recognised expertise in tackling economic crime, we are showing how committed this government is to supporting business and delivering economic growth."

The Commissioner of the City of London Police, Adrian Leppard, said: "Intellectual property crime is costing the UK economy hundreds of millions of pounds each year, with organised crime gangs causing significant damage to industries that produce legitimate, high quality, physical goods and online and digital content in an increasingly competitive climate.

"The establishment of a new online intellectual property crime unit is evidence of the government and City of London Police’s commitment to confront this threat. Together we are creating an operationally independent police unit that will co-ordinate the national and international response from law enforcement and public and private sector partners so we can effectively target those who continue to illegally profiteer on the back of others endeavours. In doing so, we will also be safeguarding jobs and protecting people’s personal and computer safety by ensuring they are not exposed to counterfeit goods and unauthorised copyrighted content."

Around seven million people a month visit sites offering illegal content in the UK, according to the government.

The intention to set the unit up was announced by the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, last December.


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