A specialised police force dedicated to tackling intellectual property crime has been given a boost after funding was agreed for a further two years.

Funding for the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) was due to expire in September this year but an Intellectual Property Office (IPO) spokesperson told the Gazette it had agreed a deal to keep it running until at least 2019. 

It is the second time the unit, which was set up in 2013, has had its life extended. In 2014, the IPO gave it £3m to keep it operational until 2017.

The office will now give the unit a further £3.32m. The agreement runs from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2019.

The unit, part of the City of London Police, has had success in tackling intellectual property crime including through an online portal called the infringing website list (IWL), which tries to cut off funding for illegal streaming websites.

The IWL provides the digital advertising sector with an up-to-date list of copyright infringing websites so that advertisers, agencies and other intermediaries can stop placing adverts on them.

In March this year the unit said advertising on such sites had decreased by more than 60% since the IWL was set up in 2014.

PIPCU officers have also teamed up with local police forces to make arrests of suspected copyright infringers.

In February it acted on behalf of the Premier League, Sky, BT Sport and Virgin Media and arrested five people accused of selling TV set-top Kodi boxes. The boxes allow users to stream live content from apps and on-demand services. But some boxes are being modified so that users can access paid-for content. In April, the Court of Justice of the EU ruled against a Dutch man who sold Kodi boxes online.