Scheme to tackle domestic abuse

Technology developed to identify stolen property is 
being used to help tackle domestic violence and track down serial abusers.

For the first time in Scotland, officers in East Dunbartonshire will use SmartWater forensic marking technology to protect women from abusive partners and detect offenders of domestic bail offences.

SmartWater technology is normally used as a means of identifying stolen items of property and linking criminals to a crime scene, and has been used to great success in the reduction of ‘acquisitive crime’. However, for the first time this unique initiative is being piloted in East Dunbartonshire as a way of reducing the number of victims and ensuring serial abusers are held to account.

SmartWater can be used as a spray system and a transferable marker to forensically tag the skin and clothing of offenders. Anyone marked with the liquid can then be conclusively linked back to the scene of their crime.

Police Scotland will be deploying all three variations of SmartWater in order to assist with the identification of potentially abusive partners who may be in breach of their bail conditions.

Funding for the project has been provided by East Dunbartonshire Council via ‘Empowered’ a multi-agency partnership group whose remit is to develop an integrated and strategic approach to the elimination of violence against women and the provision of services for women and children affected by abuse in East Dunbartonshire.

Chief Inspector Rob Hay said: ‘‘We continue to place a much greater emphasis on challenging the perpetrators of this crime.

‘‘What we are seeking to achieve is a reduction in the number of victims of this type of crime by focusing our efforts towards targeting repeat offenders and serial offenders and making our position absolutely clear that this type of behaviour is unacceptable and that, with our partners, we will continue to challenge those who are responsible.’’

Chair of Empowered, Madeleine Sedgwick, said: “I hope that by supporting this we are sending a strong message to any perpetrator of violence against women that it will not be tolerated and we will take any means necessary to protect any individual under threat of violence.’’