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The UK government has unveiled a trial use of “smart water” technology to address sexual assaults on women at clubs.
Clubbers suspected of harassing women will be sprayed with the invisible forensic spray which remains on the skin for up to six weeks and stays on clothes for years. Suspects tagged with the liquid can be detected by shining ultraviolet light on them.
The trial was part of the 16 projects announced by Cabinet Office minister Kit Malthouse which will receive £12 million to address crime and other social issues with technological solutions, The Times said.
Security guards at clubs will be armed with canisters of smart water which not only helps trace tagged suspects but acts as a deterrent against potential sex offenders.
West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit has pioneered the use of the technology by providing more than 100 security staff of bars and clubs with smart water, the newspaper said.
With differential blending combinations, each canister of the forensic spray leaves its own signature on the tagged individuals.
The minister also announced another project to enable 60 prisons to test wastewater for detecting illegal drugs used by offenders.
The testing technology which was successfully used to identify the coronavirus in wastewater is now adapted to find metabolised drugs from inmates, including psychoactive substances, cannabis and cocaine, The Times said.
Malthouse said the government would remain proactive in adopting technology to tackle crime.
“We must constantly agitate and innovate to improve public services, always eager to try smart solutions to complex, deep-rooted problems across our nation,” said Malthouse, who previously worked as the minister of state for crime and policing.
“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,” the Conservative politician said.