Press release

£3 million government cash boost to tackle digital piracy and fake goods

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit has been boosted by £3 million of new government funding.

The fight against digital piracy and counterfeit goods was today (23 October 2014) boosted by £3 million of new government funding to the City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU).

Minister for Intellectual Property (IP), Baroness Neville-Rolfe announced the government’s funding commitment to the national crime unit at the Anti-Counterfeiting Group Conference in London. The unit has now been operating for 1 year and this new funding will cover the next 2 years, up to 2017.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe said:

We’ve seen significant success in PIPCU’s first year of operation. This extra support will help the unit to build on this impressive record in the fight against intellectual property crime, which costs the UK at least £1.3 billion a year in lost profits and taxes.

With more money now being invested in ideas than factories or machinery in the UK, it is vital that we protect creators and consumers and the UK’s economic growth.

Government and industry must work together to give long-term support to PIPCU, so that we can strengthen the UK’s response to the blight of piracy and counterfeiters.

City of London Police Commander Steve Head, who is the Police National Coordinator for Economic Crime, said:

The government committing to fund the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit until 2017 is fantastic news for the City of London Police and the creative industries, and very bad news for those that seek to make capital through intellectual property crime.

Since launching a year ago, PIPCU has quickly established itself as an integral part of the national response to a problem that is costing the UK more than a billion pounds a year. Much of this success is down to PIPCU moving away from traditional policing methods and embracing new and innovative tactics, to disrupt and dismantle criminal networks responsible for causing huge damages to legitimate businesses.

PIPCU has benefitted immensely from forging a close alliance with the IPO; forming partnerships with national and international law enforcement bodies, the creative industries and the public and private sector. This puts the unit and the City of London Police as a whole in a strong position to make an even bigger impact and greater inroads into intellectual property crime over the next couple of years.

Since its launch in September 2013, PIPCU has delivered significant results. It has:

  • investigated more than £29 million worth of IP crime and has suspended 2,359 internet domain names
  • seized more than £1.29 million worth of suspected fake goods
  • diverted more than 5 million visits from copyright infringing sites to the PIPCU domain suspension page
  • set up Operation Creative, a ground-breaking initiative designed to disrupt and prevent websites from providing unauthorised access to copyrighted content, and the Infringing Website List

The recent IP Crime Group Report, detailing all UK enforcement activity between 2013 and 2014, highlights innovative initiatives used by PIPCU to dismantle and disrupt criminal activity.

Notes to Editors

  1. PIPCU, the operationally independent IP crime unit was launched in September 2013. It is a specialist police unit dedicated to protecting UK industries that produce legitimate, high quality, physical goods and digital content from intellectual property crime, with a particular focus on online crime.
  2. The Intellectual Property Office supported PIPCU with £2.56 million of funding over 2 years in September 2013. PIPCU will receive a further £3 million from the IPO up to 2017.
  3. PIPCU is based in the Economic Crime Directorate (ECD) at the City of London Police, the national lead force for fraud.
  4. PIPCU is a 21-person team consisting of detectives, police staff investigators, analysts, researchers, an education officer and a communications officer. The team also has the added skills and expertise from 2 secondees; a Senior Intelligence Officer from the UK IPO and an Internet Investigator from the British Recorded Music Industry (BPI).
  5. The IP Crime Group report 2013/2014 , launched on 10 October 2014, provides information about PIPCU’s recent successes and operational activities.
  6. The IPO is an executive agency, part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.