Police Scotland increase use of DNA tagging sprays to combat bike theft

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Police Scotland are upping their use of specialist DNA tagging sprays to help combat motorcycle theft, as well as catch anti-social nuisance riders.

The force first began using SelectaDNA products back in 2018 and are now extending that usage to include officers on patrol in their North East division.

“The use of this tagging spray is another tool officers will have at their disposal to help detect illegal and antisocial activity associated with motorcycle and bike crime,” Chief Inspector Darren Bruce said.

“We know that this issue has been a concern for communities, and we’ve had a number of local projects ongoing in a bid to help tackle this over recent months and years.”

DNA spray can be seen under UV light

The extended rollout of the sprays began on Monday, March 18 – with officers squirting the fine mist towards passing riders they suspect of wrongdoing.

This then covers the bike, skin, and clothing of the rider without doing any harm to the individual. It cannot be washed off of surfaces and features uniquely coded but invisible DNA that provides forensic evidence to link them to a specific crime once caught.

The spray is invisible to the human eye but shows up under UV lighting.

“Other areas of the country have seen great results in reductions of crime using SelectaDNA, which was first introduced in Edinburgh in 2018,” Chief Insp Bruce said. “We hope this will be reflected in our communities as we continue to work hard to bring perpetrators to justice.”

Police officer holding DNA spray canister

According to SelectaDNA themselves, when the sprays were deployed in Edinburgh as part of Operation Soteria, it helped lead to a reduction of 60% in bike crime offences.

“I’d ask the public to continue to work with us to help in apprehending those taking part in anti-social behaviour and hold them to account throughout our area,” the officer continued.

Other forces that have previously used sprays of this kind also include Surrey, plus Sunderland and South Tyneside.

Anyone wishing to report crime to Police Scotland can do so by calling 101, or phoning Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.