Safe Newcastle provides funding to Northumbria Police to tackle motorcycle disorder

DNA spray in use
DNA spray in use

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

Their work, that has taken place alongside partners on the Safe Newcastle board, has already led to significant reduction in reports of motorcycle disorder across Newcastle and Gateshead.

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.

Safe Newcastle worked closely with police to invest in the product after a pilot scheme across Sunderland and South Tyneside led to a 70 per cent fall in reports.

Cllr Habib Rahman, chair of Safe Newcastle and Newcastle City Council cabinet member for Communities, said: "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.

“It is pleasing to see the Safe Newcastle partnership in action working to tackle to issues that matter and we are proud to be able to support Northumbria Police in keeping our communities safe.”

Detective Inspector Mal Stratton, who oversees the work of the team, said it is yet another tactic to be used to keep the local community safe.

He said: "We set up this team because we knew there was serious criminality linked to what, on the face of it, appeared to be anti-social behaviour and nuisance motorcycle activity.

“There may be some who think these are just bored teenagers who have nowhere to ride their motorcycles but that is not the case.

“Over the past few weeks we have seized significant quantities of drugs, a huge amount of weapons and a host of stolen motorcycles.

"Our task force have been able to do that because they have used a host of different tactics and this DNA spray is just another tool to their belt.

"It has a proven track record of success in South Tyneside it has reduced incidents by more than two thirds and we are thankful to Safe Newcastle for providing the funding for it.

"We will use it in our plans to target serious criminals but we will also look at preventative tactics, that includes identifying diversionary programmes for young people.

“We want you to report issues with motorcycle disorder directly to our task force because it is the public who are eyes and ears in the community. 

"If it safe to do so then take pictures, take videos and send it to our detectives so we can help make your community a better place to live."

Safe Newcastle is the community safety partnership for Newcastle. Its vision is to create a safe Newcastle by tackling crime, alcohol, drugs, anti-social behaviour and their impact. By working together its members aim to develop effective, sustainable solutions to local concerns, improve confidence and build stronger 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.

If you want to send pictures, video or intelligence to the task-force then you can do so by emailing operationbenelli@northumbria.pnn.police.uk or by calling 101 and asking to speak to the Operation Benelli team.