River Hamble leads the way in crime prevention
Monday, 18 March 2013
The start of the boating season will see all owners who pay harbour dues on the River Hamble, issued with a SmartWater forensic marking system.
This is the first time an entire harbour has embarked on a crime prevention scheme such as this. Around 4,000 boats will be given SmartWater systems from the Easter weekend onwards when people start returning to their vessels.
Councillor Keith Evans, Chairman of Hampshire County Council's River Hamble Harbour Board, said: "We have been working closely with the police, including their marine unit, and of course with SmartWater. The River Hamble is not a crime hot spot and we want to keep it that way by providing a major deterrent to potential theft and crime on the River. This tool is a way to ensure property is protected and we urge all owners to act positively and responsibly to maximise that deterrent."
SmartWater is a forensic liquid that can be painted on to almost any item of value, providing traceable back to its owner. The robust liquid is almost impossible to remove and contains thousands of uniquely numbered microdots. These microdots feature a unique reference number, so police can identify the owner of any recovered stolen property and prosecute the thieves responsible.
SmartWater can be applied to anything from personal belongings to outboard motors, radar equipment, chart plotters and radios. Each system also comes with stickers to put in the windows of vessels to warn would-be-thieves that the valuables on board are protected.
Once boat owners have their SmartWater system and have painted the liquid on their belongings, they need to register it with the company, either online or by post. Registration details will be supplied with the systems.
David Evans, Harbour Master for the River Hamble, said: "The forensic marking scheme project is designed to make it clear to potential thieves that the River Hamble is not a place they will want to target. We already work very closely with the police and this is an extra step to help prevent crime and act as a deterrent to thieves. It is also a scheme that is of benefit to everyone who uses the river."
Sergeant Tony Birr, of the Hampshire Constabulary Marine Unit, said: "The Hampshire Police Marine Unit and local beat officers continue to work closely with the Hamble Harbour Master and his team in developing ways to prevent and detect crime along the River Hamble. Their consistent commitment to proactively deter criminals typifies the spirit of Project Kraken and, by working together, this initiative demonstrates what can be achieved when agencies take a joint approach in reducing the opportunity for crime to occur."
Phil Cleary, Chief Executive of SmartWater Technology Ltd, said: "SmartWater works as an effective deterrent because it makes thieves accountable for their crimes, which is why they will avoid it at all costs. This project is a co-ordinated crime prevention strategy between Hampshire County Council, Hampshire Police and SmartWater, which we believe will bring real benefit to boat owners by reducing the threat of theft."