SmartWater Group helps protect victims of domestic abuse through the pandemic in South Yorkshire

Leading risk management company, the SmartWater Group is supporting South Yorkshire Police and its Partners on a new initiative to reduce domestic violence across Yorkshire.

Working with the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit, SmartWater’s forensic marking liquid has protected over 80 vulnerable people across South Yorkshire in the last eight months.

SmartWater’s forensic marking liquid is traditionally used to deter offences of theft and burglary. Funded by the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit, the domestic abuse initiative has taken an innovative approach and adapted the use of forensic marking so that potential victims of domestic abuse can be protected.

Perpetrators who are marked with SmartWater will be forensically linked to the scene of the crime. This is helping the police to build a strong evidence case against them in circumstances that can often be difficult to prove.  SmartWater is currently the only forensic marking system that is compliant with the HO Forensic Science Regulators Code of Practice.

Gary Higgins, COO of SmartWater Technology division, commented:

“SmartWater is delighted to be supporting South Yorkshire Police with this innovative and very effective use of our products.  The early results are very encouraging, the opportunity to help provide a level of protection to those directly affected and to simply make someone feel safer in their own home is something we are very proud of. SmartWater maintains a 100% conviction rate in contested court cases, powerful proof of our effectiveness in linking perpetrators to the scene of their crime.”

As a result of the initiative there has been a 69% reduction in reported incidents and a 94% reduction in harm from those incidents reported across the county.

Detective Chief Inspector Lee Berry, noted:

“The South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit invested in to the SmartWater forensic marking initiative as we knew that it would allow victims of domestic abuse to feel safer.  In addition to the reduction in the number of incidents, we have also seen that of all of the victims surveyed, 86% of victims now feel safer and 78% have reported that the initiative has had a positive impact on them.  Feedback from the victims is positive with one stating that police and partner agencies have gone above and beyond and that they would recommend to others. These results provide reassurance that we are not only prioritising domestic abuse, but that we are making big steps to reducing re-offending and keeping victims safe.”

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, added:

“Domestic abuse is a serious crime and both the Violence Reduction Unit and South Yorkshire Police are committed to tackle it and protect vulnerable victims.  SmartWater is one way we can do this. Where, for example, abusers are continuing to deny that they are contacting the victim, property can

be forensically sprayed and this will leave a mark on the offender which can be seen under ultraviolet light. This may be crucial evidence in enabling perpetrators to be brought to justice.  I am pleased to see how we have been able to make a significant difference to the lives of some people across South Yorkshire and I urge anyone who is in an abusive situation to make themselves known to the police.”

The South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit has made SmartWater available to all victims of domestic abuse and anyone who is feeling threatened by a person’s behaviour towards them across the force area. 

If you would like to know more about how SmartWater works and how it can help victims of domestic abuse, you can watch this animation:  Click here to view video

The SmartWater Group is working with other police forces across the UK to fight domestic abuse and help victims feel safer.

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About the Author: Michael O'Sullivan