The Law

The Law.

The Specialist Printing Equipment and Materials (Offences) Act 2015 was passed by Royal Assent on March 26 2015 and creates an offence to supply equipment and materials for criminal purposes, such as the creation of fake identity, travel or entry documents or bank cards.

The law - which covers both equipment and consumables - became effective in England and Wales on May 27 2015 and is designed to make it easier to bring those engaged in this type of illegal activity to justice.

The bill was tabled in recognition of the findings of Project Genesius’ a Metropolitan Police Service initiative with the support of the Specialist Printing Equipment industry - which found that the police find it difficult to prosecute those who knowingly supply this equipment to criminals, because of the absence of a targeted offence.

Identity fraud was estimated to cost individual UK adults £3.3bn ($4.9bn) during 2012. False documents are a key enabler of this crime, allowing organised criminals to escape monitoring mechanisms and maintain the profits from their activity.

"Criminals require specialist printing equipment to make false documents such as passports, driving licences and credit cards," say the explanatory notes accompanying the new law.

While the possession and use of such false documents is illegal, there had previously been no specific offence of supplying such equipment to criminals.

The law and guidance notes can be found here:

You can download a copy from these links:

·         The Security Printing Equipment and Materials (offences) Act 2015

·         Explanatory Notes

Additional relevant United Kingdom law includes but is not limited to:

·         Identity Documents Act 2010

·         Fraud Act 2006

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