Arming Northumbia Police with the new DNA tagging spray has seen the number of nuisance motorbike rider incidents plummet in Sunderland and South Tyneside.
Since the SelectaDNA spray was added to officers' armouries, the number of reported incidents of illegal motorbike crime has fallen by 70%.
Inspector Phil Baker who covers South Shields, said: "The launch of the SelectaDNA spray has been really successful. We're looking at a drop of about 70 per cent in the number of recorded incidents.”
Northumbria Police has confirmed the spray has not been used in South Tyneside since it was introduced, adding the drop in recorded incidents could be attributed to publicity since its launch.
“Just the media campaign proved how successful it was, it's having a really good impact in this area. One of the main complaints we get is around moped crime, so we're pleased to report it's going really well and it's money well spent. And it's growing too - now we've done it, everyone else wants to copy us."
Already successfully deployed by 17 other police forces across the UK including The Metropolitan Police, West Midlands Police, Cheshire Constabulary and Police Scotland, the spray allows police to 'tag' suspects with a liquid which becomes visible under UV light and allows officers to link individuals to their vehicles, even if they are later dumped.
The tactic was introduced in South Tyneside in September to tackle the problem of off-road and illegal motorbike riders, which had been an issue in the area for several years.
Inspector Baker added: "We know this is a problem across the Force area but there were areas in South Shields where we had a number of reports of anti-social behaviour linked to off-road bikes. As a result, we were keen to work with local authorities to find a solution.
This spray had been introduced elsewhere across the country and we saw it as an innovative way to put those responsible for the disorder before the courts.
"Often we know those involved in offending but trying to secure the evidence to bring forward a successful conviction can be difficult. This DNA spray will greatly assist in this regard.”
The SelectaDNA tagging spray will now be further rolled out to officers in Newcastle after funding was secured by Safe Newcastle, which brings together Northumbria Police, Newcastle City Council, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service and health professionals.
Cllr Habib Rahman, chair of Safe Newcastle and Newcastle City Council cabinet member for Communities, said: "This is a fantastic piece of kit which has proven to be effective in combating a problem area which is a real concern for residents of the city.”
Detective Inspector Mal Stratton, who oversees the work of a specialist team to tackle antisocial behaviour and disorder linked to motorcycles, said the spray is yet another tactic to be used to keep the local community safe.
"We set up this team because we knew there was serious criminality linked to what, on the face of it, appeared to be anti-social behaviour and nuisance motorcycle activity. There may be some who think these are just bored teenagers who have nowhere to ride their motorcycles but that is not the case. Over the past few weeks we have seized significant quantities of drugs, a huge amount of weapons and a host of stolen motorcycles.
"Our task force have been able to do that because they have used a host of different tactics and this DNA spray is just another tool to their belt. It has a proven track record of success in South Tyneside, it has reduced incidents by more than two thirds and we are thankful to Safe Newcastle for providing the funding for it.”
For further information and images contact: Angela Singleton, Press Officer for Selectamark.
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