MORE than 400 suspects in Cheshire have been screened in custody for traces of SelectaDNA as part of Operation Shield.
So far a total of 433 people, who have passed through Cheshire Police’s three custody suites, have been screened as part of the forensic property marking initiative. Almost 200 of those have been in the past week.
Assistant Chief Constable Mark Roberts said: “Offenders marked by the spray may shower and wash their hair thinking they are free of any traces but once put under a special ultra violet light we are able to see immediately that they have been involved in a crime. It is then a simple task of removing a sample and checking the DNA code to locate the premises which it is registered to - therefore forensically linking the criminal to the crime.”
The operation, which launched on 2nd March, is targeting those who commit theft and burglary. As part of the initiative around 1,000 SelectaDNA property marking kits, which consist of a traceable liquid that residents can use to forensically mark valuables, have been delivered to homes across the county.
The DNA system is unique to each address and helps to identify stolen items if they are recovered – no matter where in the country they are found.
As well as helping to recover stolen property, offenders committing crime can also find themselves marked with the forensic liquid – this stays on their hair, skin and clothes and cannot be washed off.
Criminals will not be able to see it in normal light - but police officers will. Every person arrested is being screened under a special ultra violet light in custody.
ACC Roberts added: “All tests in custody for the traceable liquid have resulted in a negative result up to now – reinforcing the message that Operation Shield is making its mark across the county. The aim of the operation is to deter would-be thieves and burglars – and provide reassurance for local residents. As part of our ongoing commitment we will continue to screen suspects as they are brought into custody.
“My message to criminals in Cheshire is be extremely nervous about committing any crime in an Operation Shield protected area or premises. One spray could put you away."
Since the start of the operation everyone who is bailed from custody will be given a bail form - with the Operation Shield logo on it - providing a very clear reminder of the operation and deterrent against committing crime.
Cheshire Police has also written to 350 known offenders to make them aware of the risks to them should they decide to commit crime in an Operation Shield protected area.
Criminals are being targeted to ensure that they are aware of how the use of forensic marking will make life difficult for them should they choose to commit crime.
ACC Roberts said: “We take burglary very seriously in Cheshire and have seen a 15% drop in recorded incidents in the county last year which means 400 less people suffered from this distressing crime.
“Every year we recover items, which we struggle to reunite with their owners simply because we have no way of knowing who they are. With this system your property can be traced back to you quickly and easily even if it is recovered from the other end of the country.”
For further information and images contact: Angela Singleton, Press Officer for Selectamark.
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