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Carbon Copy Economy? Solving the Problems Counterfeiting Creates for the Global Economy


An IPT Policy Event at the House of Commons, organised by Duncan Hine of Warwick IERG.

According to an OECD report, counterfeiting costs the global economy an estimated $200 billion per year. The problem spans a broad range of sectors from pharmaceuticals, to official documents and forged currency. Counterfeited goods fund organised crime and also pose safety risks to consumers.This breakfast will discuss the problems counterfeiting poses to business and what steps policy makers can take to fight this crime.

Report from the meeting


  • Martyn Hall, Security Partner, Bayer
  • Michelle De Conto, Business Support Advisor, British Fashion Council
  • Duncan Hine, Principal Fellow, University of Warwick

Read more about the Industry and Parliament Trust.

Ethical contraints on Preventive policing

09/10 October 2014

Community police officer

In Paris, Tom Sorell and John Guelke presented material on ethical constraints on preventive policing, especially in regard to privacy, even in the investigation of serious crime. This event was organized by the European Forum on Urban Security and brought together representatives of urban authorities in Portugal, France, Poland and the Czech republic. This event was held jointly with the FP7 SURVEILLE project, with which the GULF project liaises on counter terrorism and serious crime.

* Photo: Serge Bertasius Photography,

* Photo: William Warby,


College of Policing Senior Leaders Masterclass on Big Data and Social Media


College of Policing. Bramshill, Hampshire


Four members of the IERG team, Tom Sorell, Kat Hadjimatheou, John Guelke and Christopher Nathan, presented papers at the College of Policing as part of a 1-day Senior Leaders Masterclass on Big Data and Social Media. Christopher Nathan’s presentation considered the privacy implications of big data analysis; John Guelke’s the risks to privacy of social media monitoring by police; Tom Sorell’s the broader issues arising from social media use both by police and the public; and Kat Hadjimatheou’s the possibilities for ethical guidance for police using big data applications or social media. Other presentations were given by senior police officers, a communications industry representative, and social and computer scientists developing bid-data applications for police.

* Photo: Gitta Wilén,

College of Policing


Disruption, Ethics, and Policing


Friends House, London.

Organised by the IERG, in association with Tom Sorell's GU Leadership Fellowship. The event was attended by leading academics, serving and retired members of the police force, and several officials concerned with police regulation.

Al Capone

  • What different forms of disruption are appropriate to serious and organised crime and terrorism?
  • How do agencies decide between disruption and e.g. further surveillance?
  • Is disruption sometimes preferable on cost grounds to further investigation?
  • Is disruption more harmless ethically than surveillance and other preventive measures?
  • How is the effectiveness of disruption to be measured?

Speakers include: Ian Davidson (National Coordinator, ACPO Financial Investigation and Proceeds of Crime Portfolio), Martin Innes (Professor in School of Social Sciences, University of Cardiff), Nick Walton (Superintendent, Coventry Police), Basia Spalek (Reader in Communities and Justice, Kingston University).

The 35 participants at the event included academics and senior police. Discussion revolved around questions pertaining to police activities that do not aim directly at arrest or prosecution. Among the illuminating case studies described on the day were Supt Nick Walton’s description of the attainment of a series of gang injunctions against an organised criminal group in Birmingham, and Neville Blackwood’s (Supt, retired) discussion of different approaches to ransom demands in cases of international kidnapping.

The way that ethics might function in the context of policing remained a live issue; Tom Sorell outlined the view that the more serious the crime at hand, the more intrusive disruptive measures can be. The relevance of community also arose at several junctures, including in Prof Martin Innes’ (Cardiff / College of Policing) description of his work on the way that the killing of Lee Rigby was reported on social media, and how this in turn can affect police investigations.

The event forms part of a series of conferences funded by the RCUK Global Uncertainties Leadership Fellowship that is held by Prof Tom Sorell at the Interdisciplinary Ethics Research Group in Warwick.

See more about the event on the IERG news page.


Policing and Preventive Justice

BMA House, London

US Police

Participants at the event are drawn from ex-police, think tanks, and academia. Speakers include Heidi Lomell (University of Oslo), Vic Towell (Royal United Services Institute), and Tom Sorell (University of Warwick).

Event report

Heidi Lomell (University of Oslo) on ‘Pre-emption and its uneasy relationship with the presumption of innocence’

Kat Hadjimatheou (University of Warwick) on ‘The presumption of innocence, the right to be free of criminal stigmatisation and pre-suspects’

Heidi Lomell introduced the concept of pre-emptive criminalisation. She put forward an argument holding that such criminalisation undermines respect for people’s autonomy. By imposing sanctions on behaviour that takes place well before a criminal act, it removes opportunities that the person would have to choose to act otherwise. There is thus an ‘uneasy relationship’ between preventive justice and the presumption of innocence. Kat Hadjimatheou explored further the presumption of innocence, arguing that some preventive measures label people as criminally suspicious in a way that stigmatises them. This fact places limits on how preventive justice should operate.

Vic Towell (Royal United Services Institute) on ‘It’s not always bad to have a big brother’
David Page (University of Warwick) on ‘Reflections from the ground floor’

Both speakers drew on their wealth of direct experience of the field, discussing the ethics of innovations such as face recognition and automatic number plate recognition technologies. In the discussion that followed, a key issue was whether or how we should see private and public surveillance differently. We seem to be more willing to give our data to a supermarket chain or to a social networking website than to the police. Are we right to think this way, when the supermarket will use data for private commercial purposes, while the police will use data in order to prevent harmful and criminal activity?

Tom Sorell (University of Warwick) on ‘Preventive measures and serious crime’
John Guelke (University of Warwick) on ‘The presumption of innocence, privacy and public spaces’

Tom Sorell argued that orthodox preventive policing measures are more justified, the more serious the crime to be prevented. The next question is: what makes something count as a more serious crime? This is a difficult question when we consider the serious effects that a ‘minor’ crime can have, or if we believe that preventing smaller crimes is a good way to prevent greater crimes, or if we find certain serious offences to be controversial. John Guelke’s paper returned to the issue of the relationship between the presumption of innocence and preventive justice, particularly police surveillance activities. He advanced the view that surveillance practices conflict with the presumption of innocence in some extreme cases, such as those involving watchlists, but that a more subtle understanding of privacy should also make us less hostile to such techniques.