DNA spray yet to catch menace bikers - because police can’t get close enough to suspects to use it

A ‘DNA spray’ brought in to help police catch nuisance riders has so far not been used - because officers haven’t been able to get close enough to suspects.

Tuesday, 4th June 2019, 1:48 pm
File picture of a Northumbria Police officer testing the spray
File picture of a Northumbria Police officer testing the spray

We reported last year how South Tyneside Council paid £1,738.80 towards a DNA spray scheme in a bid to crackdown on antisocial behaviour and crime involving mopeds and motorcycles.

The SelectaDNA spray – which contains water with a ‘tag’ that becomes visible under UV light – allows officers to link individuals to their vehicles, even if they are later dumped.

But officers from Northumbria Police have admitted they have not had a suitable chance to use it yet.

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“We haven’t managed to get close enough to spray anyone mobile yet,” said Sgt Claire Fada.

“And once a person has been sprayed, there’s then only a certain amount of time where it stays on the person, so once you’ve sprayed, you’ve then got to find them.”

Sgt Fada was speaking at a meeting of the Hebburn Community Area Forum Monday, where she said she was unaware of suggestions a drone could also be brought in to tackle the problem of anti-social motorbike riders.

She also urged the public to continue to provide information on nuisance riders when they spotted them through the 101 police line or Crimestoppers.

DNA sprays have already been trialled by forces in Manchester and London, which in May saw figures for ‘moped-enabled crime’ drop my more than a third in just three months after the sprays were introduced.

A meeting of South Tyneside Council’s Riverside Community Area Forum heard in December that officers had seen a 70% fall in illegal motorbike crime, even without it being used.

Inspector Phil Baker said at that meeting that the a media campaign had been successful and the scheme was having good impact in this area, so it was “money well spent”.

James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service