Cutting edge SmartWater technology is helping police tackle domestic abuse. The technology has traditionally been used to deter and prevent thieves, but it will now be utilised to support and reassure victims of domestic abuse.
Karen Shooter, Domestic and Sexual Abuse Manager for Doncaster Council said: “Victims that come to us for support often tell us of ongoing abuse, harassment and stalking by their ex-partner or family member. The use of SmartWater products will help to protect victims and provide the forensic evidence needed to prosecute perpetrators.”
The scheme will see SmartWater forensic traceable liquids used at the homes of victims of domestic abuse.
Superintendent Lee Berry, Joint Head of the South Yorkshires Violence Reduction Unit added: “South Yorkshire are the first county to use forensic marking against Domestic Abuse perpetrators on this scale.
“Through the support and coordination of the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit we have ensured that this is a county wide approach.
“This innovative approach will not only make victims feel safer and deter further abuse, it will also provide the best opportunity to bring perpetrators to justice who do not heed our advice.
“As well as protecting victims, we will also use this as an opportunity to speak to the perpetrators of domestic abuse. We will warn them of what we are doing and the consequences should they return to a victim’s home as well as referring them to Inspire To Change in an attempt to break their cycle of offending behaviour. This truly is an innovative and partnership approach to reducing domestic abuse across the county.”
The SmartWater products can transfer onto anything it comes into contact with – including skin and clothing. It is only visible under an ultraviolet light meaning those who come into contact with it could be unaware that it has left a mark on them. It stays on the skin for weeks and SmartWater scientists only require a speck of the solution to be able to forensically determine where it has a come from. SmartWater is also extensively used to mark property such as mobile phones, making it uniquely identifiable.
Councillor Chris McGuiness said: “The project has only been made possible thanks to collaborative working and funding from South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit.
“By using SmartWater technology, not only are we making victims feel safe, we are sending out a warning to perpetrators that we will know if they have tried to enter or visit the home of their victim and if they do we will be able to prove it. and work towards ensuring victims of domestic abuse feel safe.”
Gary Higgins Consultant Director of SmartWater Security Services said: “SmartWater are proud to be playing our small part in helping to make some of the most vulnerable in the community feel safer in their own homes.
“Our products not only make property uniquely identifiable to its owner but can also categorically link offenders to the scene of their crime.”
Jan Hannat, Director at South Yorkshire Community Rehabilitation Company said: “The new SmartWater initiative presents an excellent opportunity for South Yorkshire Community Rehabilitation Company and the Inspire to Change programme to reduce the levels of domestic abuse across South Yorkshire .
“We hope the initiative will present new opportunities to engage with perpetrators of Domestic Abuse and present an opportunity for us and the wider adult and children’s safeguarding networks, to work with them in a positive and constructive way.
“Safeguarding vulnerable people and communities is at the core of South Yorkshire’s CRC’s values as an organisation, and the SmartWater initiative brings a renewed emphasis on early intervention and prevention of domestic abuse.”