Tool to help protect homes from burglaries to be rolled out in Cheshire

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A crime-fighting tool that helps protect homes from burglaries is being rolled out in Cheshire.

The SelectaDNA forensic coding solution is placed inside the home on items such as jewellery, laptops and TVs.

Cheshire Constabulary has invested more than £170,000 into the kits that will be made available to residents and fitted into their homes.

The kits will also act as a deterrent to burglars due to their invisibility when marking skin and clothing once the item is touched.

When the burglar is caught officers will use specialist lighting to identify if the offender has been marked by the colourless liquid.

The liquid comes with a DNA code that can link to a specific crime that has been reported.

The code can also be used to identify where property has been stolen from meaning items can be returned to their owners.

Officers from nine of the local policing units will distribute the kits by selecting targeted streets and engaging with residents.

Residents who are provided with a kit will also receive a sticker that can be displayed in their windows.

In the coming weeks street signs informing of the crime fighting tool will be displayed in residential areas across the county.

The rollout of the kits are part of the force's wider Operation Shield initiative.

The operation aims to inform and educate residents on crime prevention advice and deter offenders from committing burglary or serious and acquisitive crime.

Cheshire Constabulary's Assistant Chief Constable Jenny Sims said: "We know that burglary is a distressing crime leaving people feeling violated in their own home.

"Therefore we want to do all we can to ensure people feel safe and that offenders are deterred from committing burglary and serious and acquisitive crime in our county.

"This unique tool is one way of doing both.

"Offenders who set out to commit these crimes will run the risk of being marked with the liquid in any of the homes they choose to target. They won't know the liquid is on them and they will find it incredibly difficult to remove, which makes it easier for officers to detect them.

"Over the coming weeks this crime-fighting tool and the wider Operation Shield initiative will become more accessible and visible in communities across the county.

"We hope it acts as a deterrent by creating a hostile environment for offenders choosing to commit crime in Cheshire."

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Comments

Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Donald Strathdee
Tuesday 9th November 2021 at 3:16 pm
Strange, these kits were first handed out in Great Watford some ten years ago.
They were designed to mark high value items.
Seems very strange to now suggest that a spray can be used around the house and on clothing, surely the wearer of the clothes would be the first to be contaminated .
Mark Eden
Tuesday 9th November 2021 at 3:19 pm
Brilliant - love it. Just need to lock up offenders a lot longer
David Carey
Tuesday 9th November 2021 at 5:03 pm
Just renamed product the original is Smartwater I used it fifteen years ago in Manchester so not a new product at all.
Jon Williams
Tuesday 9th November 2021 at 8:54 pm
I used it in schools years ago !
Stephen Justice
Tuesday 9th November 2021 at 9:04 pm
Donald,

I think the reference to clothing was intending to mean that clothing and skin coming into contact with a marked item would indeed be contaminated and therefore incriminating.

If I’ve read it correctly.., maybe someone can confirm this?

In any case new or not, I’d say it’s surely worth getting hold of if you have any easily stolen items.
Stephen Maynard
Tuesday 9th November 2021 at 9:08 pm
Good to see Cheshire Constabulary are keeping abreast with the “latest” technologies albeit 15 or so years behind everyone else
Marina McHugh
Wednesday 10th November 2021 at 4:14 am
This is all well and good and obviously helpful but the scale of house burglaries in this district is out of control. Nothing more scary to think of someone entering your property uninvited. A stronger police presence would be an improvement. Perhaps our new Police Commissioner can help.
Martin Sinker
Wednesday 10th November 2021 at 11:03 am
The lead stolen from the Vestry roof at St Philip & St James Church in AE a few years ago was all Smartwater marked, at considerable cost. The theft was reported to the Police immediately; they gave us a crime number but didn't attend and weeks later wrote us a letter saying that they couldn't solve the crime. There was no interest whatsoever in the Smartwater marking. Note to would-be lead thieves: the roof is now very sharp-edged stainless steel. The repairs cost well in excess of £20,000.
David Carey
Wednesday 10th November 2021 at 2:04 pm
I think Cheshire Constabulary have just wasted a lot of money as you can see from the comments already made. As a civilian working for the City council I worked at Police station in Manchester for ten years, and not once did I see or hear anyone convicted via using this method of detection for Manchester South Division where I was based.

As the Community Safety Coordinator for five wards including the Withington ward (mainly student areas) which initially was the highest burglary rate in Europe just before I started. Luckily for me withing three months a briliant and new broom came in (no suprise as to why) but quickly the new innovative Chief Superintendent took over and due to these extremely high numbers, and also as I was a designated council safety person designated to helping reduce crime, I was invited to help set up and run 'Operation Flood'.

Within six months we had reduced Domestic Burglary by 46% and burglars were being caught and handed stiff sentences. We did this by some of the following:
a) Targetting prolific burglars houses and known associates houses and cars in transit.
b) Pinch points for roads used in getaways (e.g stopping known vehicles) at peak times.
c) Covert operations at peak times for high risk areas for repeat crimes on houses.
d) Blocking exits routes for burglars (Alley-gating terraced houses etc...)
e) Crime Prevention advice and talks to residents (local groups) and a lot of students.
f) A full time police analyst who collated all the data for targeting offenders.
g) A laptop tracker device one of the first to be used across the UK at the time.

Operation Flood went on to become a Home office flagship project which we all won national awards and police commendations for in our relatively small team.
Last but not least, Greater Manchester Police stopped Smartwater as using it as it was not cost effective and was found to be a complete and utter waste of police time and money!

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