Police combat motorcycle theft with DNA spray

BMF 04 10 19

Published on 4 October 2018 by Matt Colley

Northumbria police are trialling an innovative new technique to catch motorcycle thieves in the form of a DNA spray that tags offenders.

Police in Sunderland and South Tyneside are testing the new approach.  

Officers will be equipped with SelectaDNA aerosol canisters which contain a water-based solution only visible under Ultraviolet (UV) light. The spray marks skin, clothing and equipment with an invisible dye that assists forensics teams in identifying individuals. The dye has a unique code which links criminals to a specific time and place such as an attempted bike theft.

The initiative is part of a wider crackdown on motorcycle crime, targeting those in operation of illegal off-road motorbikes and mopeds.

It is hoped that the spray will be effective as a tactic for tackling anti-social behaviour and bringing repeat offenders to justice.

“We are confident that this innovative new equipment will lead to more seizures and convictions to help make our region a safer and more enjoyable place to live,” Northumbria Police Temporary Superintendent Barrie Joisce said.

“As part of this trial, we will also see whether the spray can be used to help detect other types of crime and bring those guilty of flouting our laws before the courts.”

The SelectaDNA spray is presently used by a number of police forces in the UK.

Police Scotland recently claimed that the tagging spray has contributed to a 60 per cent reduction in motorcycle crime in Edinburgh. The Met Police have also employed the spray in London, helping to achieve a 38.5 per cent reduction in moped crime committed in the capital between February and May this year.

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Picture credit: SelectaDNA