Smart weapon used to stop illegal riders

By Megan Archer | Cannock | News | Published:

NUISANCE moped riders on Cannock Chase will soon be unable to escape from police – as officers bring in a new, traceable, liquid weapon to spray at criminals.

Staffordshire Police are bringing into force the new weapon to try and tackle illegal use of mopeds and motorbikes on the Chase, as well as other anti-social behaviour.

SmartTag, a traceable, forensic liquid, will be sprayed at criminals who try to escape quickly – giving police the upper hand.

Each can of spray is connected to a unique barcode, which links the offender to the crime long after the incident has taken place.

The spray remains on skin, clothes and vehicles for about three months, meaning officers will immediately know if they have apprehended the correct suspect.

Chief Inspector Sarah Wainwright, commander for the Cannock Chase Neighbourhood Policing Team, hopes to start using the product as early as this weekend. Staffordshire Police is the first force in the country to do so.

She said: "We hope this new technology will help us to address an ongoing issue of anti-social behaviour in the Cannock Chase area and send a positive message to the local community that we are doing all we can to address their concerns.

"Last year we had 278 calls about anti-social behaviour relating to motorbikes across this policing area – Cannock. If you times that by 10, the number of policing areas across the county, you can see what a problem this is.

"It will help us a lot this summer, including just preventing the crime. As soon as people here we have this they will get their bikes licensed, or checked, or just stop altogether."


The new product was officially launched in Cannock Chase yesterday (WED), as the firm responsible for its creation, SmartWater, teamed up with Staffordshire Police to provide a demonstration.

Gary Higgins, consultant director of security services at SmartWater, said: “The cans dispense a spray stream of uniquely coded liquid to accurately, forensically tag offenders up to eight to 10 metres away.

"It is invisible to the naked eye but glows under UV light. The liquid is near impossible to remove and will remain on skin and hair for weeks or months, even with frequent washing.

“SmartTag is ideal for police and law enforcement, allowing for discrete tagging and identification of offenders as well as being used to reduce the risk of attack for ‘at risk’ people, such as security guards, door staff, shopkeepers and hospital staff.

“When an arrest is made, scientists will analyse traces of SmartWater found on the offender to identify the unique forensic code, linking it back to the crime scene or incident.

“Our scientists only require trace the size of a speck of dust to link the offender back to a crime scene.”

Megan Archer

By Megan Archer
Chief Reporter - @MeganA_Star

Chief Reporter with the Express & Star. Give me a call on 01902 319363 or email

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