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Staffordshire Police in new forensic marker campaign to deter domestic abuse perpetrators

Staffordshire Police is joining forces with SmartWater to deter perpetrators of domestic abuse – by using forensic products to help protect victims.

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The trial, which starts this month and will run for 12 weeks, will see officers across Cannock, Stafford and South Staffordshire support at-risk individuals with forensic technology.

The idea, first trialled by South Yorkshire Police, is to deliver an additional layer of protection to victims – providing them with means of forensically marking important areas and items in their homes in order to help identify perpetrators.

As part of the trial, SmartWater products will be distributed to those identified as high-risk by the force. The products provide a unique forensic code which have a proven track record for identifying property and linking offenders to the scene of their crime.

It comes as latest domestic abuse figures for 2020 show Cannock dealt with 2,078 incidents, Stafford saw 2,337 and South Staffordshire saw 1,482 instances.

Sergeant Mark Burslem, of Cannock neighbourhood policing team, said: “We hope this trial will help those at risk from domestic abuse and stalking feel safer in their homes as well as more secure in the possession of their valuables.

“It is also hoped the products will enable officers to more readily determine the perpetrators of abuse and encourage them to seek help.”

Part of the trial involves offering perpetrators a rehabilitation program to help change their behaviours, where appropriate, with prosecutions sought where necessary. If successful, the scheme will be extended, with the aim of rolling it across the force in the near future.

Gary Higgins, chief operating officer of SmartWater Technology, a division of The SmartWater Group, said: “SmartWater is delighted to be supporting Staffordshire Police with this innovative and very effective use of our products.

“SmartWater maintains a 100 per cent conviction rate in contested court cases, powerful proof of our effectiveness in linking perpetrators to the scene of their crime.”

Head of safeguarding at Staffordshire Police, Detective Chief Inspector Paul Cooke, said: "The force is constantly looking for new ways of working to protect victims and bring offenders to justice.

“We hope that this trial of SmartWater products will help us to do just that.”

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