SCHOOLS in Dorset are taking part in a crime reduction initiative to reduce burglary using the latest in hi-tech DNA property marking.
All Dorset County Council schools have been provided with a SelectaDNA security marking kit which will be used to mark school items at risk of theft.
The initiative, which is being supported by Dorset Police and Selectamark, has reached more than 170 primary, middle, secondary and special schools across the county.
Schools are using SelectaDNA to mark valuable school items such as ICT equipment, interactive whiteboards, projectors, audio equipment and even musical instruments. It can also mark metal on the exterior of buildings.
The aim of the scheme is to deter potential criminals and reduce theft.
Warning signage and window stickers indicating that DNA marking is being used have also been issued. These will be erected around the school perimeter, as metal theft from school roofs have been a problem in recent months.
Marc Eyre, Corporate Risk Officer from Dorset County Council said: “Insurance statistics for schools in Dorset have highlighted a significant increase in criminal damage losses over the past few years totalling £80,000 over a two-year period.
“The vast majority of these losses are self-insured, and therefore are a direct hit on Dorset County Council’s own funds.
“A significant proportion of these losses have arisen as a result of theft of metals from the exterior of buildings. It is hoped that this scheme will assist vulnerable sites in the Dorset community.”
SelectaDNA, used in many schools throughout the UK, comes in a kit containing a bottle of DNA solution that can be easily applied to any item of value. The unique DNA code in the solution links each item to the individual school. It doesn't damage the marked property in any way.
Police forces routinely scan suspected stolen property for traces of SelectaDNA, which has the power to link offenders to the scene of a crime, which could ultimately lead to their conviction.
Mark Harper, Dorset Police Crime Reduction Advisor said: “By being able to identify, positively, the lawful owner of property, it makes a stolen item of almost no value to the criminal. They don’t want to be caught with the property in their possession because they will be arrested and no dishonest person will want to buy anything from them because they will suffer the same punishment, this means that there is no point in stealing an item in the first place.
“Using SelectaDNA will ensure that anyone stealing property, including lead from roofs, will be at far greater risk of being arrested, charged and convicted. In turn, this makes schools in Dorset less attractive to potential thieves.”
Mr Donlon, Sandford St Martin’s First School Head Teacher said: “Following recent thefts of copper and lead from our roof, we have welcomed the introduction of SelectDNA to the school. It has provided us with another level of security following this upsetting event.
“With the summer holidays nearly upon us, it is reassuring to know that this product will help by acting as a strong deterrent that will reduce the risk of any theft and damage in the future.”
For further information and images contact: Angela Singleton, Press Officer for Selectamark.
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