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Southport and  Mersey Reporter -  Your free online newspaper service covering the Merseyside region - (Greater Liverpool).
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Issue:- 18 November 2010

Crimestoppers cracks down on counterfeiting in Merseyside

MERSEYSIDE Crimestoppers launched a hard hitting campaign this week to tackle counterfeiting and raise awareness of the more serious links it has to organised crime.  This coincides with the release of the new Harry Potter Film and the best selling video game Call of Duty.

With Christmas approaching and the effects of the last recession still hitting hard, there is often a greater temptation to buy fake goods; however, few understand the consequences and serious implications behind counterfeiting.

34% of people questioned in a You Gov survey in the North West region said they have purchased an item believing it was authentic only to later find out it was fake. 27% said they had knowingly purchased a fake DVD.

Gary Murray, Crimestoppers North West Regional Manager said:- “Christmas is a time when many are trying to find ways to reduce costs. I would urge the public not to be tempted to buy often cheaper fake goods. Counterfeiting is not a victimless crime. The consequences are far wider than the simple transaction. It can fund serious crimes such as human trafficking and drug crime which can harm our community. This is one of our most hard hitting campaigns yet as we try to educate the public that what they perceive as a bargain can lead to lives being destroyed.  Anyone with information about counterfeiting should call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or use the online anonymous form on  With the publics help we can make big steps in cracking down on this type of crime in Merseyside”

The campaign is being run with the support of the Home Office, Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), the Bank of England, Film Distributors Association (FDA) and Pentland.

A dedicated microsite has been produced which has information on each strand of the campaign and information about the serious organised crime links, harmful affects, fraudulent activity and videos.

Posters and leaflets will be distributed throughout Merseyside.

In Merseyside in the last 6 months Crimestoppers have received over 1598 pieces of information from the public. Local people can and do make a real difference to the safety of their local community.

Don’t leave staff holiday calculations until the last minute

A small business support group is urging firms not to leave their 2010 staff holiday calculations until the last minute.  The Forum of Private Business is calling on smaller companies to work out their employees’ holiday entitlements now in order to avoid any unpleasant surprises at the end of the year.

Due to repeated changes to legislation, calculating statutory annual leave entitlements has become an increasing confusing process for business owners over the years. Part-time staff, maternity leave and sickness absence pose a particular problem for employers.  As a result, the Forum’s website provides free information on holiday entitlement and a free holiday entitlement calculator.

However, the pages see a huge surge in traffic during December and early January, when employers realise they need to make their calculations before the end of the calendar year.

Suddenly discovering that employees are owed more leave than anticipated often causes major problems for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). With a smaller pool of workers to absorb absence among colleagues and greater fluctuations in overall company workloads, SMEs are disproportionately vulnerable to staff shortages when compared to big businesses.  As a result, the Forum believes that smaller employers should find out how much leave is owed to their staff for 2010 as soon as possible – and also start to plan ahead for staff holidays in 2011.

The Forum’s finance and administration director, Nick Palin, said:- “If smaller businesses fail to keep tabs on how much leave their employees are owed, it can lead to a lot of workers taking their holidays at once, causing potentially damaging staff shortages.  Like many areas of employment law, the rules surrounding holiday entitlements are complex. The legislation is particularly tricky to interpret in areas such as sickness absence and maternity leave, so it’s perhaps not surprising if business owners put off dealing with the issue until they have to.   However, by leaving holiday entitlement calculations until the last minute, employers are increasing the likelihood of staff shortages and potential legal problems. This doesn’t have to be the case - holiday entitlement calculators like the one on our website are easy to use and should allow business owners to work out their employees’ entitlements in a matter of minutes.”

The calculator can be found under the ‘HR’ section of the Forum’s website.  Paying members of the not-for-profit organization can also access expert advice on employees’ holiday entitlements through the Forum’s helpline, along with its ‘Practical Employer’ package.

The Forum provides its members with a range of other employment-related products and services through its ‘HR Director’ business support solution.

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