20 July 2019
ACG very much welcomes the Government’s pledge yesterday to recruit 20,000 new police officers in England and Wales. The rise in violent crime on our streets has been hugely distressing and recruiting additional officers sends a clear message that this will no longer be allowed.
However, we must not forget that crime is changing and Governments across the world are strongly convinced that illicit trade, and particularly counterfeiting, are now major crimes that increasingly threaten our economies, businesses and consumers.
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime, reports that international organised crime networks draw profits as high as $870 billion from illicit trade. In this, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) have reported that the global trade counterfeiting and piracy amounts to $509 billion. So huge profits are being handed to international crime gangs, which use the money to maintain other forms of trafficking including, drugs, arms and people.
In the UK market alone the trade in fake goods is worth £9.3 billion and represents 4% of all UK imports. Worryingly, 40% of the counterfeits actually detained at our borders prove to be potentially dangerous to consumers. These include food and beverages, body care articles, medicines, electrical goods and toys.
To properly combat this deadly crimewave the UK needs collaborative resources and partnerships, involving police, Trading Standards Officers (TSO) and Border Force. TSO’s are our front line in protecting consumers and unfortunately, there has been a more than 50% cut in trading standards officer (TSO’s) in less than decade. This has left some services with just one qualified officer. These cuts have had a huge impact on the UK’s ability to carry out checks to safeguard our communities.
Alongside this, the National Audit Office has revealed that Border Force staff numbers actually reduced by 7% last year.
So while we applaud the decision to increase policing numbers, we must realise that our businesses, economy and consumers are under ruthless attack from international criminals involved a dark trade that gets more damaging and menacing by the day. Our power to confront it lies in strong public and private sector partnerships. But these can only be truly effective if all of our enforcement resources are treated in the same way.
The BBC's report on the announcement : https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-49123319
ACG represents more than 3,000 brands affected by this influx of fakes into the UK and delivers an international network of information, advice and contacts on all aspects of IP protection. Working with Government and law enforcement agencies since 1980, ACG is focused on providing an effective and sustained response to counterfeiting.
Membership with the ACG is the best way to work with government and enforcement bodies to protect your brand. Our Roadshows and training days help you reach out to police, trading standards and border force officers and tell them about your genuine products.