Police chief calls for global collaboration on IP crime

City of London Police Commander Steve Head has called for greater global co-operation and a worldwide day of action to tackle organised criminal networks who are making millions of pounds through intellectual property (IP) crime.

Speaking at the International Law Enforcement IP Crime Conference in Vietnam Commander Head, who is the Police National Coordinator for Economic Crime, highlighted how the UK’s approach to IP crime had been considerably strengthened by the establishment of the force’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU).

The conference in South East Asia, which is being co-hosted by INTERPOL and the Vietnam National Police, has more than 500 public and private delegates from nearly 70 countries.

Commander Head, who oversees PIPCU, provided attendees with an insight into the unit’s work both in the UK and around the world since launching in September 2013.

In particular, he focused on how the team has successfully targeted individuals and organised crime gangs that are damaging legitimate businesses through copyright infringing websites and selling counterfeit goods online.

As a result PIPCU is now the subject of considerable interest and recognition from national and international governments, law enforcement and counter fraud agencies.

In conclusion, Commander Head recommended to delegates that other countries adopt the City of London Police’s approach to tackling specific economic crime types that transcend national and international borders, engaging with multiple-agencies and implementing phased prevention and disruption initiatives.

“PIPCU are pioneers in … tackling intellectual property crime, moving away from traditional policing methods to embrace new and innovative initiatives to disrupt and dismantle the criminal networks responsible for causing huge damage to legitimate businesses,” he said.

“This work includes close collaboration with private sector organisations inadvertently supporting IP crime either through advertising or allowing payment provision on websites that are providing illegal access to copyrighted material. At the International Law Enforcement IP Crime Conference I urged delegates to support and engage with PIPCU and to look at its strategy for policing IP crime as a potential way forward for themselves and partner agencies.”

PIPCU is based within the Economic Crime Directorate of the City of London Police, the National Lead Force for Fraud. It is a specialist police unit dedicated to protecting the UK industries that produce legitimate, high quality, physical goods and online and digital content from intellectual property crime.

The operationally independent unit launched in September 2013 and is initially being funded by the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO), which is part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

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