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PA welcomes launch of IP crime unit

The City of London Police have launched an intellectual property crime unit backed by £2.5m of funding.

The unit will tackle organised crime in intellectual property and protect UK industries which produce legitimate, high quality, physical goods and online and digital content.

The £2.5m funding over two years has been provided by the Intellectual Property Office – part of the department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The team will be made up of 19 people.

Police commissioner Adrian Leppard, said: "The world of crime is constantly evolving and the formation of the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) is further evidence that police, Government and industry are committed to protecting the UK from both established and emerging threats, many of which are now operating from online platforms.

"Intellectual property crime is already costing our economy hundreds of millions of pounds a year and placing thousands of jobs under threat, and left unchecked and free to feed on new technology could destroy some of our most creative and productive industries.

"Launching PIPCU we are making a statement of intent and sending out a clear warning to organised crime that the UK has just become a more hostile place for those who seek to make criminal capital on the back of others' honest endeavours."

The creation of the unit has been welcomed by the Publishers Association. Chief executive Richard Mollet said: "The launch of Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit is a hugely significant development in the fight against online intellectual property crime which undermines the creative industries on a daily basis. We applaud the Intellectual Property Office in providing funding for this new Unit. We now look forward to working collaboratively with PIPCU and other rightsholders in upholding the rights of publishers and authors."