Scotland has an issue with the widespread sale of illicit products. These include everything from unregulated, counterfeit and dangerous products such as footwear, aircraft parts, cosmetics and foodstuffs. This is not a problem for Scotland alone – 5% of all imported goods to the EU are counterfeit – indeed the production and sale of illicit goods is an issue worldwide.
The problems caused by illicit trade are numerous. Consumers are often unaware that they are buying these products, and the repercussion these transactions can have on themselves and their communities. Illicit products often fail to meet health and safety standards, with significant personal safety risks to the user. Much of revenue generated from illicit trade funds further criminal activity, for example – cigarette smuggling contributes about 20% of terrorist funds worldwide.
Police Scotland, Trading Standards Scotland, HMRC and the Scottish Anti Illicit Trade Group have identified that they, as partners, would like to investigate solutions that can analyse data and identify and/or predict illicit trading at a local community level.
This might take the form of any data approach, or combination of approaches, but we believe it should not be a ‘surveillance society’. The key output of this challenge will be a solution that can do this, with its insights being used to educate communities on the dangers of illicit trade, what can they do to mitigate against it, and ultimately to support and enable law enforcement to prevent criminal activity.
The deadline for this challenge is 2 July 2018.
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