Police off road bike spray success

Wednesday February 8th 2023


Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

A police operation which saw officers spray smart water on off road bikers behaving badly led to a 64 per cent drop in complaints about the antisocial activity.

Operation Jewel took place in the final three months of last year with officers specially trained to use canisters filled with the high tech water. The substance contains ‘microdots’ and leaves a mark, which can be traced by police.

A meeting of Midlothian Police, Fire and Rescue Board heard police seized two off road bikes, carried out five property searches and recovered a stolen bike as a result of the operation.

Local area commander James Robertson told the board the number of calls reporting antisocial bikers also dropped dramatically.

He said: “We developed a new tactic with Operation Jewel which involved the use of smart water DNA spray.

“The spray has microdots which are serial numbers and we now have Midlothian officers trained in the deployment of this spray which we can use to target individuals riding on paths or in an anti social way. They can be sprayed with that if police are unable to stop the suspects immediately. Subsequently they can search addresses and check for this smart water under black lights.”
Inspector Robertson said the operation had gone so well there were plans to carry it out again in the spring.

He said: “We saw a substantial drop in the number of antisocial bike reports, a 64 per cent decrease which is really positive.

“This is something we will absolutely look to replicate in springtime again. We will be looking to enhance this tactic and use it again this year.”

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