Leeds bars and clubs to use forensic liquid to tag offenders and increase nightlife safety

More than 100 security staff in bars and clubs across the county are to be equipped with an innovative forensic spray, designed to increase nightlife safety.

By Emma Ryan
Friday, 3rd December 2021, 12:55 pm

The West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) has funded a three-year membership for venues to use the SmartTag handheld tool - a pressurised canister to deploy a stream of SmartWater forensic liquid to tag an offender with a unique forensic code.

This can be used by the police to link back to a specific criminal incident.

Director of the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit (VRU), Chief Supt Jackie Marsh said: “The rollout of SmartTag across West Yorkshire represents yet another milestone in our ongoing commitment to people’s safety within the night time economy.

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The SmartTag scheme, where police can tag offenders with forensic water, will be used in 100 venues across the county and was launched at Pryzm nightclub in Leeds this week.

“We were one of the first in the country to introduce the pioneering Licensing SAVI initiative, offering training and support for venues on key issues."

She added that the unit had recently funded the city centre deployment of a St John Ambulance mobile treatment centre on busy weekends towards the new year to help create a more secure and reassuring environment in line with the Mayor of West Yorkshire’s pledge around the safety of women and girls.

Gary Higgins, Chief Operating Officer of SmartWater Group, which has developed SmartTag said: "In recent police-supported trials the mere presence of SmartTag has been proven to act as a powerful deterrent. It has a noticeable calming effect on troublemakers even without a single canister having to be deployed.

“SmartWater is a powerful tool as it provides the police with the evidence they need to prosecute, and hundreds of criminals are behind bars as a result. As we gear up for a busy Christmas period, we’re sending out a clear message that violent behaviour will not be tolerated in our night-time venues or within our wider communities.”

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Mr Lee added: "Forensic marking solutions have been in use in West Yorkshire for some time now and have been valuable tools in helping both deter and also catch offenders in a whole host of crime types.

"Districts, including Bradford and Wakefield, have used the technology to help convict illegal off-road bikers, deter shoplifters and also mark alcoholic drinks cans to help us identify stores connected with street drinking and ASB.

“We welcome the adoption of SmartTag in licenced premises as this innovative partnership approach can only help make users of the night time economy safer and assist us in swiftly identifying and taking action against those involved in crime.”

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