Amid fierce debate around the Metropolitan Police’s sanctioning of ramming techniques to knock over moped-riding thieves, officers in North Yorkshire are opting for an alternative method – the use of a spray liquid containing a unique DNA code to ‘tag’ riders.
It marks the bikes, clothing and skin of riders and passengers with a uniquely-coded but invisible DNA that will provide forensic evidence to link them to a specific crime.
The spray shows up blue under special UV lights and can still be detected after washing. It is already being used by 14 other forces in the UK, including West Yorkshire Police.
The Â£2,500 roll-out in North Yorkshire is being funded from money seized from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
PC Tom Ibbetson, who has led the DNA spray initiative at North Yorkshire Police with support from the force’s Roads Policing Group, said: “As we have seen in other parts of the country, the use of SelectaDNA tagging spray is a very effective and safe police tactic in evidentially linking people on mopeds and off-road motorcycles to criminality and anti-social behaviour.
“The beauty of the DNA tagging spray is that suspects and bikes can be identified many weeks after being tagged, meaning they will have to be constantly looking over their shoulder because the police will catch up with them sooner or later.
“Importantly, it sends out a clear message to both offenders and concerned residents that North Yorkshire Police will not tolerate this type of behaviour.
"We will go to great lengths to bring offenders to justice and end the misery they are causing in many of our communities.”
Meanwhile, West Yorkshire Police yesterday announced it was tripling the size of a team targeting rogue riders in Wakefield, from two to six.