The Government has published a report that reveals in stark terms the impact of counterfeiting and the sale of black market goods in Manchester.
This cause is no longer the sole responsibility of traditional law enforcement such as police forces or Trading Standards. Government departments and agencies such as the Intellectual Property Office are working in close partnership with law enforcement, sharing information and making life as difficult as possible for criminals who exploit our citizens and damage the UK economy.
The production, distribution, and sale of counterfeit goods has always had close links to serious organised crime, a fact often not considered by the everyday bargain-hunting or cash-strapped consumer. Thanks to the ever increasing partnership between government departments, industry, and law enforcement we are leaving fewer and fewer places for criminals to hide.
Working together we have made a significant impact on IP crime across the UK however problem areas still exist.
Following discussions with the Anti-Counterfeiting Group, I raised concerns about the counterfeiting hotbed that continues to thrive in the area of Cheetham Hill, Manchester. This trade, where income tax and consumer safety is simply ignored, undercuts and undermines legitimate businesses and allows other criminality to be funded and flourish. This report is the first part of the multi-agency response to the criminal trade which has become established in the area, and signals the start of a concerted effort to disrupt and dismantle organised crime groups operating in nationally significant trade.
The report also represents an important first step to delivering a managed solution across the whole range of intellectual property crime trade. The Home Office proposals for Local Profiles will be an important factor in how further intelligence work is undertaken by the Intellectual Property Office. The relationship between industry and enforcement will also be a critical one, and we call on brands to work with Government and law enforcement to help identify criminal activity.
The UK has been regarded as a world leader in intellectual property rights enforcement. This is achieved as a direct result of co-ordinated and informed interventions. I will be maintaining a close personal interest in the progress of the challenge to the identified criminality over the coming months.
Baroness Neville-Rolfe DBE CMG
Minister for Intellectual Property
See the report here: