Summit Calls For Counterfeit Crackdown

by Heather Peebles

Monday, February 17th, 2014

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Anti Illicit TradeA major conference is to hear a call for Scotland to become a hostile environment for serious organised crime by encouraging people to stop buying illicit and counterfeit goods.

Scotland’s first Anti Illicit Trade Summit is the first event of its kind to bring together law enforcement, trading standards, government and industry to highlight the dangers to personal safety and the threat to Scottish businesses from the spread of illicit trade.

Organised by the Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC), and delivered by its newly-formed Scottish Anti Illicit Trade Group, the two-day Summit aims to attract businesses, representative bodies and members of the public to hear of the scale of the problem and the escalating actions being taken to combat it.

The international trade in counterfeit goods is estimated to cost the UK economy around £1.3 billion a year – while also seriously harming local businesses.

 SBRC Director Mandy Haeburn-Little said the Summit will provide a platform to mount a step-change in the fight against illicit trade.

The True Cost Of Fake Goods

She said: “For the first time, every expert from every field and sector will share their concerns and discuss how best we move forward to reduce the scale, impact and cost of illicit trade in Scotland.

“This is an issue that is of equal importance to the man and woman on the street as well as our business community.

“Everyone loves a bargain. But people need to stop to think about the true cost of fake goods. Can you be confident that those cheap cigarettes, perfumes and alcohol are actually safe. However, it goes much deeper as those products are likely to have supported child labour or human trafficking or used to fund serious organised crime.

“By thinking of more about that cheap knock-off, we hope people will start to realise that it no longer seems such a great bargain any more.

Illicit trade also hurts businesses in Scotland very hard. People choosing bargains at markets, car boot sales or on the internet impacts hugely on retailers and shops – and less genuine goods being sold close businesses and put people out of work.”

The Summit will feature interactive sessions showcasing examples of fake foods, fashion, gaming, DVDs, music, beauty products and medicines that have been seized by police and trading standards as well as seminars to endorse the importance of iconic Scottish brands such as Harris Tweed.

Experts will also debate how prevention, intelligence and enforcement can be enhanced through collaborative work by multi-agencies; while a unique debate has been organised by the Scottish Youth Parliament and Young Scot to discuss the argument whether it is right to download music or games free from the internet.

The keynote address will come from Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill, underpinning the Scottish Government’s determination to block illicit trade and combat serious organised crime.

The Scottish Anti Illicit Trade Group is the first body of its kind that has linked all agencies and organisations with an interest in Illicit trade to work together to fight the problem.

Group Chair, Police Inspector Alan Dron said: “Criminals have no scruples. All they care about is making money and have no concerns about the dangers of selling dangerous products, such as fake whisky or make-up, to unwitting consumers.

“Those involved in illicit trade are very often implicated in other forms of serious organised crime, channelling their proceeds into drug dealing, human trafficking and money laundering.

“Collectively, we can help tackle this problem through raising awareness and changing perceptions.

“We must influence the public not to buy illicit or counterfeit products while supporting legitimate businesses.

“This will make Scotland a hostile environment for serious organised criminals.”

The Anti Illicit Trade Summit, supported by independent product safety testing and certification specialists UL, is taking place at Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, on March 6 and 7. Attendance is open to all – costs are, SBRC members £75; non-SBRC members £125.

For more information or to book, visit www.sbrc.co.uk.

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Private: Heather Peebles

Based as a PR in Edinburgh, Heather Peebles is a highly-valued member of the team at Holyrood Partnership. Her work with the Scottish public relations consultancy sees her advising clients in healthcare, construction, renewables and logistics. As well as delivering numerous successful PR campaigns, she is also experienced in crisis PR and reputation management.

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