Packaging's Role in Combating Organised Crime

Explore how packaging innovations play a pivotal role in combating organised crime, as highlighted by Detective Inspector Andrew Masterson. Learn how collaboration and vigilance are essential in the ongoing fight against counterfeit trade.

Packaging's Role in Combating Organised Crime

Packaging, often underestimated, plays a crucial role in the fight against organised crime. Andrew Masterson, Detective Inspector at PIPCU, sheds light on the significant impact packaging innovations can have on thwarting illicit activities.

Based in London's Square Mile, the City of London Police hosts the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), dedicated to eradicating illicit trade nationwide. Masterson emphasizes that counterfeit products pose a grave threat to the UK economy, with an estimated worth of $4.2 trillion globally, trailing only the drug trade. In the UK alone, counterfeit goods generate economic losses of approximately £9 billion annually and result in the loss of around 80,000 jobs due to illicit trade.

While counterfeit goods may appear harmless at first glance, they are often linked to organised crime syndicates involved in a myriad of illegal activities, including modern-day slavery, money laundering, and drug trafficking. Masterson highlights that counterfeit products, such as perfumes, are sometimes manufactured and stored in hazardous conditions, posing risks to public safety.

PIPCU's mission extends beyond law enforcement; it aims to educate businesses and the public on the detrimental effects of counterfeit trade. Masterson stresses the importance of defunding criminal enterprises, citing recent seizures of counterfeit goods valued at £6 million, along with £400,000 in confiscated assets. However, he underscores that addressing this multifaceted issue requires a collaborative effort involving law enforcement, businesses, and the public.

Masterson emphasizes the need for vigilance within the legitimate packaging industry, as criminals continuously adapt their methods to evade detection. He recounts an incident where counterfeiters utilized custom packaging to smuggle fake Apple products into the country, exploiting minor discrepancies to deceive authorities and consumers alike.

In response, Masterson advocates for enhanced labeling, digitalization, and other packaging innovations to aid law enforcement in identifying counterfeit products. Collaboration between industry stakeholders and law enforcement agencies is crucial in staying ahead of counterfeiters.

In conclusion, Masterson asserts that innovation and collaboration are pivotal in combatting organised crime. Events like Packaging Innovations serve as platforms for exchanging ideas and fostering cooperation, essential elements in the ongoing battle against counterfeiters.


Keywords

packaging , organised crime , counterfeit , PIPCU , innovation

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