1. ITV Report

Ground-breaking DNA spray to be used by Northumbria Police to tackle motorcycle disorder

A community safety partnership in Newcastle is backing a police taskforce set up to tackle motorcycle disorder in the North East.

The 'Safe Newcastle' partnership is supporting the crackdown by funding a ground-breaking new DNA spray to tag offenders.

In October, Northumbria Police revealed a specialist team had been set up to tackle anti-social behaviour and disorder linked to motorcycles.

A specialist task force was set up by Northumbria Police to tackle motorcycle disorder Credit: Northumbria Police

Investigations had found that a large number of the motorcycles involved were stolen and linked to serious criminality including violence and drugs.

Dozens of people – including juveniles and adults – have been arrested by the team in the crackdown on the disorder.

And last week the task force seized a hoard of stolen property, weapons, drugs and fake number plates in a string of dawn raids.

Safe Newcastle which brings together Northumbria Police, Newcastle City Council, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service and health professionals, has now provided police with funding to utilise a specialist DNA spray to deal with the problem.

It will see police officers carry canisters containing an invisible water-based UV solution which can spray riders’ skin, clothes or bikes with a uniquely-coded dye. This can then provide forensic evidence to link individuals or items to a specific crime. Police saw a 70 per cent drop in reports after piloting the spray in Sunderland and South Tyneside.

We know this is a problem across the Force area but there were areas in South Shields where we had a number of reports of anti-social behaviour linked to off-road bikes.

This spray had been introduced elsewhere across the country and we saw it as an innovative way to put those responsible for the disorder before the courts.

Often we know those involved in offending but trying to secure the evidence to bring forward a successful conviction can be difficult. This DNA spray will greatly assist in the regard."

– Inspector Phil Baker, Northumbria Police
Northumbria Police officers piloting the product Credit: Northumbria Police

This is a fantastic piece of kit which has proven to be effective in combating a problem area which is a real concern for residents of the city."

– Cllr Habib Rahman, chair of Safe Newcastle and Newcastle City Council cabinet member for Communities

Northumbria Police's motorcycle task force cover Newcastle and Gateshead and are made up of a number of experienced and specialist officers based at Etal Lane Police Station.

Prolific offenders are monitored and victims are spoken to in a bid to build up an intelligence picture of those involved in the disorder.

The team will then look to secure warrants on addresses linked to the anti-social behaviour and that has already resulted in a number of significant arrests.

Drugs, weapons, money and stolen property have all been seized by the task-force due to their enquiries into anti-social behaviour.