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West Yorkshire equips PCSOs with forensic spray

Wakefield PCSOs have now been authorised to use the forensic spray.

In an initiative funded by the West Yorkshire Violence Reducation Unit, Wakefield PCSOs will now be equipped with the pressurised canisters on their patrols. 

The forensic spray is used to tag offenders or items with a unique forensic code which can help to identify them and subsequently place them at the scene of a crime. It is currently used across the UK but not before by PCSOs. 

Police Oracle understands that Smart TAG can be used as a deterrent -  and deploying it can help diffuse situations - which West Yorkshire has said has been seen specifically with Night Time Economy door staff. 

The spray can reach up to 10m away meaning if an offender were to be tagged and then flee the scene, they could later be linked back to an offence. 

While initially used to mark property, the force has said they are currently using the spray to deter and detect incidents including off-road biks, street drinking, shop lifting and domestic abuse.

They report a “significant reduction” in calls to the service since the spray started being used. 

Inspector Paul Fraser, of Wakefield Central Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT), said: “Forensic marking is used across West Yorkshire, but its use has been particularly innovative in the Wakefield District. 

“We have seen a 60 percent reduction in calls for service for street drinking since using the forensic solution to mark cans.

“Calls relating to shoplifting offences also went down by 44 percent in the three months after it was introduced in the retail sector in Wakefield city centre.

“By enabling our PCSOs to also use the cannisters, we hope to further deter people from committing offences in the city and help provide the evidence to prosecute when offences do occur.”

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