Community partnership helps fund police DNA spray pilot

A community partnership forked out more than £1,000 to fund a police DNA spray scheme tackling illegal and off-road bikers in Sunderland.

Thursday, 20th December 2018, 09:57 am
Updated Thursday, 20th December 2018, 10:28 am
Police have been equipped with a DNA spray which links illegal bikers to their crimes.

The Selecta DNA spray, which was rolled out in September in South Tyneside and Sunderland, allows police to ‘tag’ suspects with a liquid which becomes visible under UV light.

This allows police officers to link individuals to vehicles, even if they are later dumped, with an aim of tackling anti-social behaviour and nuisance motorbike riders.

To support the scheme, the Safer Sunderland Partnership paid £1,159 towards the pilot in Sunderland, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.

Its aims include improving community safety by creating plans to tackle crime, disorder, substance misuse, anti-social behaviour and reoffending.

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Coun Michael Mordey, chairman of the partnership and deputy leader of Sunderland City Council, praised the DNA spray scheme and its impact so far.

“On behalf of the Safer Sunderland Partnership and communities across our city, I know a lot of people welcomed the news that Northumbria Police officers were looking to use this DNA spray,” he said.

“Our partnership made this financial contribution because the spray has been used elsewhere in the country as a very effective and safe tactic for linking riders to crime and anti-social behaviour.

“The spray does literally send out a very strong message - that your actions will catch up with you.

“Anti-social behaviour and crime in any form is not welcome in Sunderland and will not be tolerated.”

In recent weeks, Northumbria Police confirmed motorbike crime reports had dropped by 70 per cent since pilots in Sunderland and South Tyneside.

The Safe Newcastle Partnership has also revealed it will support the anti-social behaviour crackdown by funding the spray in Newcastle and Gateshead.

This will provide the tool to Northumbria Police’s motorcycle task force, made up of a number of experienced and specialist officers based at Etal Lane Police Station, in Newcastle.

Inspector Phil Baker, who covers South Shields - where the pilot was introduced in September – said partnership work was key in tackling the issue.

“We were keen to work with local authorities to find a solution, as we know from previous investigations how vital a holistic approach is,” he added.

“We couldn’t have done this without their support and we have already seen huge benefits in our area.  

“However, we are not complacent and will not stop there.

“We will, as always, continue to be proactive and work with partners to ensure our communities remain a safe and enjoyable place to live.”

South Tyneside Council also contributed £1,738.80 towards the scheme in South Tyneside.

Chris Binding, Local Democracy Reporting Service