Security personnel at two shopping centres in Wakefield city centre are being supplied with forensic marking spray to aid in the reduction of shoplifting and other offences against retail staff.

The security teams at the Ridings and Trinity Walk have received training in the use of Smart TAG, a forensic marking spray that assigns a unique forensic code to objects or individuals. This code can be utilised by the police to identify items or suspects involved in criminal activity.

This recent initiative, financed by the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Partnership (VRP), follows the authorisation granted to PCSOs in Wakefield District last year to employ forensic marking spray, marking a first in the UK.

Inspector Paul Fraser said: “The Wakefield Central Neighbourhood Policing Team continue to introduce innovative tactics and develop new partnership opportunities to ensure that Wakefield remains the safest city in the region.

“The Ridings and Trinity Walk are valuable partners in the retail sector, and we hope that demonstrating how closely we are working together that will make people think twice about committing crimes against businesses in the city.

“Where instances do occur and security staff use the forensic marking spray, any individuals or objects sprayed will be marked with a unique code which assists us in investigating crimes and returning stolen property.”

Director of the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Partnership (VRP), Det Ch Supt Lee Berry said: “We have continued to fund the use of forensic marking sprays in the Wakefield District, as we know just how effective they are in influencing behaviours and preventing situations from escalating.

“The retail sector is crucial to our local economies, and it is vital that staff and visitors remain protected, particularly from any potential of serious violence.

“Using the very latest technologies in partnership ensures that our vibrant cities can flourish and remain safe for all.”

Lynette Howgate, Centre Manager of Trinity Walk, said: “For us, this is about ensuring we continue to keep Trinity Walk a safe, family-friendly shopping centre. Thanks to the police, this spray is another deterrent at our disposal as we continue to make it clear that Trinity Walk – and other key retail venues – will not accept anti-social behaviour and shoplifting.

“It’s a national problem, but we don’t have to put up with it so we want to send a message that we are all working together to make things better. Smart TAG will help with arrests, and convictions and truly shows there will be consequences to crime.”