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Violence against women: people could be forensically tagged with ultraviolet spray at clubs and bars following government-backed trial

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Leah Sinclair
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The government-funded trial is being undertaken by the College of Policing and aims to help curb violence taking place in pubs and bars.

People who are violent against women at clubs and bars could be forensically tagged under new government-funded trials.

Around £1.7 million has been given towards work being undertaken by the College of Policing to identify “promising interventions aimed at tackling violence against women and girls”.

One of the possible options includes forensic tagging that would spray glow-in-the-dark water on alleged offenders, called a SmartTag.

Police are then able to follow up on any reported attacks by shining ultraviolet light on the person and their clothes to expose the smart water that can place them at a crime scene.

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According to the Evening Standard, South Yorkshire police have already begun trialling the method in clubs and bars. 

Detective Superintendent Lee Berry, who launched the ‘forensic tagging’ pilot told the newspaper: “We received great feedback from door staff who said they had diffused situations by warning those involved that they would be forensically marked.”

Over 100 canisters have been deployed across the UK and trained staff are given a handheld canister that includes a forensic solution with a “unique DNA code” within the fluid, the Evening Standard reports.

Staff can then spray the fluid up to 10 metres to avert violence, and officers with UV lights can identify those people at a later date.

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The College of Policing will work with the National Police Chiefs Council and the Home Office on this scheme.

This is one of 16 projects that have been awarded money via the Evaluation Accelerator Fund, which will test and develop new data-driven approaches to tackle deep-rooted issues, such as drug misuse in prisons, violence against women and homelessness.

Kit Malthouse, the chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster,  said: “We must constantly agitate and innovate to improve public services, always eager to try smart solutions to complex, deep-rooted problems across our nation.

“Whether it’s tackling drug misuse in prisons or finding new ways to confront violence against women and girls, this £12 million investment will help explore and develop those solutions so we can improve the lives of people in all of society.”

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It comes after Tory leadership hopeful Liz Truss pledged to crack down on male violence against women and girls.

Truss said she would do this by introducing a standalone offence to outlaw street harassment and a national domestic abuse register.

The foreign secretary said: “Over the last two years, our nation has been shocked by a number of high profile murders of women, many here in London. It is the responsibility of all political leaders, including us in Westminster and the Mayor of London, to do more.

Violence against women and girls doesn’t have to be inevitable. Women should be able to walk the streets without fear of harm, and perpetrators must expect to be punished.

“Through increased police training, new offences, faster processes for rape victims and our domestic abuse register we will ensure victims are protected, and crimes are prevented in the first place.”

The College of Policing has been approached for comment.

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