Security officers working at public venues, shopping centres, office blocks and luxury retail brands are fighting back against rising crime by carrying the latest compact offender marking sprays. Cutting-edge SelectaDNA Defence Spray is being used to deter and prevent personal attack and criminal behaviour. It is designed to be used only after other forms of conflict resolution have failed and is not to be used as an attack weapon or to cause an assault on an individual. A security officer can use the spray to tag an offender with an invisible solution of unique synthetic DNA code and UV marker that clings to the skin and clothing for months, and irrefutably links the offender back to the specific crime scene.
Trainer and sports fashion retailer JD Sports is among the growing number of high street brands to deploy the handheld defence spray. Selected JD security guards have been trained to use the spray to protect against shoplifting and steaming (where large, organised gangs run into targeted stores, threaten staff with violence, and then flee with armfuls of stock). Such incidents can have severe detrimental effects on staff and customers may find the experience very upsetting or traumatic. The company invested in the sprays to allow their security team to increase the chances of a later prosecution.
Commercial guards and patrol officers working for Venture Security across the UK have also been carrying the sprays to provide an extra layer of protection as they go about their day-to-day work making sure people, stock, equipment, and premises are safe. Paul Howe, Managing Director of Venture Security, said: “The spray gives our officers confidence that they have the means to act positively in situations where they might not necessarily be able to restrain offenders.”
The handheld sprays have been used by security teams to deter robbers at Westfield shopping centres, to stop crime at upmarket store Harrods in Knightsbridge, and by officers in Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) to protect stores in their areas. One BID in Lichfield, Staffordshire, used the handheld sprays to protect its jewellery store members against smash and grab raids committed by travelling criminal groups.
The spray has also made its way into a well-known department store in Paris to protect against shoplifting and robbery. Security guards at La Samaritaine, which has 90 different departments, are also making use of the new handheld DNA spray which will help them deter criminal behaviour.
Selectamark, the security company that produces the new sprays, runs training courses for security personnel to ensure they use the sprays correctly. James Brown, MD of Selectamark, said “Our DNA handheld sprays are giving security officers added protection and peace of mind. Now retailers and providers of SIA licenced security officers are starting to see the benefits the sprays can bring in reducing criminal activity.”
Also available from Selectamark is a new Personal Defence Spray which is being used to tackle violence against women and girls. Dyfed Powys Police is one of the first police forces to start using the new spray in special Women’s Safety Kits that can be used when women go out to a venue at night. The kits include a torch, a panic alarm and an anti-spike drink cover, as well as the new SelectaDNA Personal Defence Spray that works by spraying the offender with incriminating DNA solution – greatly increasing the chances of conviction.
As part of a new safety crackdown, licensed premises within identified areas in Wales (Aberystwyth, Carmarthen, Llanelli, Haverfordwest and Newtown), will be able to access tools from the Security and Vulnerability Initiative (SAVI) to help owners and operators of venues provide a safe and secure environment for their managers, staff, customers and local communities.
Dyfed-Powys Police Officers and local security officers involved in the initiative were recently given training by Selectamark on the use of the new personal sprays ahead of their distribution at busy night-time economy hotspots. Chief Inspector Dyfed Bolton, force lead for neighbourhood policing, said “Dyfed-Powys Police is proud to be working with Selectamark to promote the safety of women and girls in our force area. Our neighbourhood policing teams will continue to work tirelessly with partners to stop violence against women and girls, making our neighbourhoods safer places to live, work and have leisure time.”
James Brown, MD of Selectamark concluded: “The police are providing women and girls who could find themselves in vulnerable situations with the very latest crime-fighting technology, which sends the strongest possible message to potential offenders not to consider committing such awful crimes.”