Council pays £2,000 towards police DNA spray pilot

Council bosses forked out almost £2,000 to fund a police '˜DNA spray' tackling illegal and off-road bikers in South Tyneside
Police can use a new DNA spray to catch rogue bikersPolice can use a new DNA spray to catch rogue bikers
Police can use a new DNA spray to catch rogue bikers

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

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

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To support the scheme, South Tyneside Council contributed £1,738.80, a freedom of information request has revealed.

Although Northumbria Police have confirmed the spray has not been used in South Tyneside, officers say a drop in recorded incidents could be attributed to publicity since the scheme’s launch.

This includes a 70 per cent drop in motorcycle-related crime.

Coun Nancy Maxwell, lead member for area management and community safety at South Tyneside Council, said: “We’re delighted that the new DNA spray is having the desired impact.

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“These nuisance bikes and their riders are real concerns for communities.

“They create a great deal of disturbance, affecting the quality of life for local residents, and are often driven irresponsibly and there is a danger that someone will get seriously hurt.”

She added: “We were pleased to support the police by funding the trial of this innovative new product. It had already proved effective in other parts of the country in helping to link offenders to specific crimes and is now acting as an effective deterrent in South Tyneside.”

The Safe Newcastle Partnership is now funding the spray in Newcastle and Gateshead.

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The Sunderland Safer Partnership also contributed £1,159.20 to pilot the scheme in Sunderland.

Inspector Phil Baker stressed the importance of the police working with partners to tackle the issue.

He said: “We were keen to work with local authorities. We couldn’t have done this without their support and we have already seen huge benefits in our area.  

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

Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service