Dog DNA database launched by Gloucestershire Police in response to thefts

  • Watch Ken Goodwin's report.

Gloucestershire Constabulary has become the first police force globally to use DNA to tackle dog thefts.

The scheme known as DNA Protected uses a DNA marker system to help investigate criminal cases involving the theft of dogs.

Storing a dog’s DNA profile on the database will make it easily accessible to police forces and could help ensure the dog’s safe return if it is lost or stolen.

Two important aspects in protecting pet dogs are awareness raising and crime prevention, with DNA Protected being one of many precautions available to owners.

Kits are £74.99 and dog owners can also purchase branded collars and leads to show their dog has been protected.

DNA Protected products will soon be available on our Neighbourhood Engagement Vehicles. Credit: PA

Temporary Chief Inspector, Emma MacDonald, said: "There has been a national rise in dog thefts since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and I am hopeful that this initiative will help to reassure owners and protect the dogs of Gloucestershire.

“Dog theft can have a massive impact on the owner and their families as dogs are often seen as family members and as a force we are committed to doing all that we can to prevent dog thefts from happening.

"All of our police dogs have been profiled and given new Velcro patches for their harnesses which shows our confidence in the scheme.”

Newly-elected Police and Crime Commissioner Chris Nelson recently revealed his five-point plan to tackle dog theft and is pleased by the initiative.

He said: "The increase in pet theft has become one of the most distasteful elements of lockdown as organised gangs become ever more ruthless.

"We have to adopt whatever means we can to stop this shocking trade and hopefully advances in science will help. 

"Gloucestershire has been at the forefront of moves to recognise the status of all animals. I congratulate the Constabulary on leading the way in the introduction of DNA technology and I’m sure many other forces will follow its example.

"As a dog owner, I know how they are the focus of many families. Losing your pet at any time is heart-breaking but to do so in such a callous manner, without knowing what’s happened to them, must be unbearable and is why I fully support this innovative way of protecting our pets."

Read more: