Burglaries in Brent plummet by 85 per cent thanks to SmartWater technology

Yafet Askale was caught by SmartWater technology

Yafet Askale was caught by SmartWater technology - Credit: Archant

Burglaries in Brent have been slashed by 85 per cent after police targeted homes with forensic marking technology.

Items marked with SmartWater – a water-based traceable liquid – glow under ultra-violet light and a unique forensic code enables police to trace items back to their original owners.

A six-month trial of the system saw the reduction of burglaries in Brent, combined with a 63 per cent fall in Islington, amounting to a £1.4million saving to the UK taxpayer, according to Home Office projections.

SmartWater, which boasts a 100pc conviction rate, is used by police in conjunction with covert operations, liaison with second-hand dealers and equipping police stations with detection equipment.

Ch Supt Matt Gardner, Metropolitan Police borough commander for Brent, said: “SmartWater has been central to reducing burglary in the borough of Brent and for building more confidence within our communities.

“Criminals know about SmartWater and are aware that contact with it will effectively ‘date stamp’ them to the scene of a crime.

“All prisoners at Brent are scanned for SmartWater with UV lighting and we help second-hand dealers to avoid buying stolen goods by providing them with facilities to check for SmartWater.

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“Burglary in the areas in which we have been working has reduced by up to 90pc and we intend to increase our coverage.

“Criminals in Brent have been charged and convicted using the technology and we are confident that there will be many more”

Phil Cleary, SmartWater’s chief executive, said: “These results follow a trend of similar successful impacts across the UK and internationally over 12 years.

“The Met does a fantastic job, in challenging conditions, and I am pleased we were able to work so closely with them to help the people of Brent and Islington. The strategy has been tested thoroughly by the Met and is proven to work.

“We are aware the results of this trial are being watched closely by major law enforcement agencies around the world as the cost of burglary is an ever increasing burden to governments and communities alike.”