AN ENTIRE policing district on the north-east coast of England, which covers nearly 100 square miles, is being protected by SelectaDNA forensic marking after Cleveland Police introduced an extensive scheme featuring both urban and rural locations.
The scheme was introduced 18 months ago with the aim of reducing dwelling burglary and covers the Redcar & Cleveland Police district.
The district includes the main towns of Redcar, Guisborough, Saltburn and Loftus, aswell as the villages of Kirkleatham and Skinningrove. It has over 58,000 households in a mixture of inner-city and countryside areas.
Some local businesses have also been using SelectaDNA, in particular, charitable organisations that have been keen to protect their IT equipment from theft.
PC Chris Gunnell, Crime Reduction Officer for Redcar & Cleveland, said: “There is a wide mix of property in the district including housing association, private residential, urban dwellings and rural properties including farms.
“We were looking for a product that could be used to serve all of these types of property to prevent and deter theft. We felt SelectaDNA was the best product for that purpose.”
SelectaDNA is a liquid form of DNA which is painted onto personal property so that if it is stolen, police can trace it back to the owners through a nationwide database.
PC Gunnell added: “We were also looking for an alternative forensic marking product to the previous one we had been using, which we found to be too expensive with all the renewal fees. We wanted a product that you just paid for once and then were able to get on and use it.”
Officers have been recommending SelectaDNA forensic marking to all members of the community, but have been particularly highlighting the need for forensic marking to previous victims of burglary; and to the vulnerable during crime prevention home visits.
PC Gunnell said: “We have had a great response from the general public who have been keen to get their hands on a SelectaDNA kit. We regularly get people ringing up saying that a friend or relative has just got one and could they get one too. Dwelling theft has definitely reduced in the district.”
Another issue in Redcar & Cleveland has been the problem of mountain bike theft, with bikes worth up to £1,000 being stolen. Selectamark’s bikeregister kits (http://www.bikeregister.com) are being deployed in this instance to reduce and deter theft.
PC Gunnell said: “We organise a bike marking session somewhere in the district on average once a month following a spate of top of the range bike thefts. It is not always the whole bike that goes missing, sometimes it is just parts of it which are being stolen and sold on.
“Therefore we have been using SelectaDNA to mark the individual bike parts and then registering the whole bike on the national bikeregister database.”
If a bike is registered and then stolen, Police can trace it back to the rightful owner if the thief is caught in possession of the bike or tries to sell it on.
Local officers have also been working closely with Neighbourhood Watch organisations to mark around 700 bikes at schools and youth clubs in the area.
For further information and images contact: Angela Singleton, Press Officer for Selectamark.
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