Surrey police force deploy DNA spray in the fightback against motorbike theft

A police officer uses DNA spray
A police officer uses DNA spray

A police operation in Epsom and Ewell, Surrey, has resulted in 31 vehicles being stopped and the recovery of a stolen motorbike, while another machine was impounded by officers.

Following a rise in motorbike and moped-enabled crime, including violent assaults, robberies and anti-social behaviour, Surrey Police equipped themselves with SelectaDNA tagging spray for special patrols on Thursday, September 12.

The DNA spray can be used to target riders that fail to stop when asked to do so by the police, leaving invisible forensic evidence on the suspect’s clothes, skin and vehicle that can later be used to tie them to a specific crime and location and thus help secure a conviction.

“Tackling anti-social use of motor vehicles is at the core of reducing casualties on the roads, not only in Epsom and Ewell, but across the county and nationally as well,” said Casualty Reduction Officer PC Ed Ferris.

“After noticing a considerable rise in moped and motorbike related crime, we decided to carry out an operation, which was supported by a number of our own officers, as well as colleagues from the Sussex Police Tactical Firearms Unit.

“During the operation, we stopped more than 25 vehicles, seized one motorcycle, located a stolen motorcycle and walked the equivalent of nine miles on foot patrol over several hours around the Longmead and Watersedge estates. A number of vehicles failed to stop for police during the operation.

“We also successfully used the DNA tagging spray throughout the day to target certain individuals and work remains ongoing to continue to identify and arrest particular offenders.

“I would like to thank those patient motorists on two wheels who co-operated with the police checks on the day, and urge the public to continue reporting motorcycle related incidents to us so that we can continue to monitor and target this issue.”

How the DNA works

A DNA spray dispenser

If a suspect fails to stop on their motorbike, moped or scooter, officers spray them with fluid made up of four chemicals sequenced into a distinct chemical code. The ‘DNA’ is environmentally safe, non-toxic and invisible and is carried on the skin and clothes.

If the suspect is later found and arrested, the presence of any of the residue can be used as forensic evidence to tie them to the vehicle. It’s not just Surrey police using the technology, either. Forces across the UK are having success with DNA tagging sprays in the fight against motorbike, moped and scooter crime.

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