As part of Operation Brookdale, Merseyside Police is using SelectaDNA spray from Selectamark Security Systems to track down offenders involved in the illegal and nuisance use of off-road bikes.
The handheld devices (https://www.selectadna.co.uk/dna-defence-spray) can used by officers to spray suspected illegal and anti-social scrambler bikes, marking the bikes, clothing and skin of any riders and passengers with a uniquely coded, but invisible dye. If suspects are subsequently arrested or bikes recovered, the DNA code will link offenders to bikes and any associated criminal offences.
The spray is similar to door-mounted DNA sprays used by shopkeepers across Merseyside, which have led to reductions in business robberies under Operation Aquila.
A demonstration of the new technology took place at Mather Avenue Training Centre and involved members of the force’s Roads Policing Unit and the Dogs and Mounted Police Section. Roads Policing Unit officers on bikes circled mounted officers, who sprayed the riders as they rode past. As a result, the bikes and riders’ clothing was marked with DNA, invisible to the naked eye, but easily detected with torches and ultraviolet light in police custody suites.
In February this year, four Liverpool men were arrested and a quad bike recovered following an incident in Mill Lane, Dingle, where the bike was ridden dangerously towards mounted officers.
Finding and prosecuting offenders
Inspector Tony Byrne of the Dogs and Mounted Police Section said: “Acts of anti-social behaviour, dangerous driving and intimidation against members of our communities and our officers will not be tolerated. This spray is another great tool in finding and prosecuting offenders. Our police horses are trained to be comfortable around vehicles, including off-road bikes, but we have a duty to protect the community, our officers and our horses from all forms of reckless driving.”
Inspector Byrne continued: “The spray means that, if you attempt to drive dangerously near to our officers, you’re not untouchable. Even a drop of DNA spray will mark riders and their bikes for a long time. This tactic will undoubtedly lead to more seizures and prosecutions throughout the summer. One spray will put you away.”
Superintendent Jenny Sims, who leads Operation Brookdale, stated: “During this year’s operation, we’ve already recovered in excess of 90 bikes from our streets and made more than 40 arrests using a variety of tactics. We’ll continue to act when communities provide information. As we’ve shown with Operation Aquila, DNA spray is another way to deter and catch those who continue to cause problems in our communities. Tell us who’s storing these bikes and where, and we can keep getting results.”
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy explained: “This is another great example of Merseyside Police using modern technology to prevent crime, catch the perpetrators and keep our communities safe. These sprays have helped to reduce business robberies, and I’m sure they can now be beneficial in targeting the anti-social and criminal use of scrambler bikes. We’re continually looking for more effective and efficient ways to crack down on the crimes that cause most harm to people who live and work on Merseyside or are visitors to the region.”