Hundreds of officers issue SmartWater packs to Barnet residents

Police have begun visiting residents across Barnet as part of an operation to hand out 13,000 SmartWater packs in burglary hotspots across the borough.

Teams of Safer Neighbourhood officers are knocking on doors across the London borough as part of Operation MetTrace, and are targeting areas including Burnt Oak, Mill Hill, Child’s Hill and Brunswick Park.

Briefings were given to 300 police offices at Simpson Hall at Hendon’s police training centre before they were sent out as teams with the addresses of 40-50 homes to visit residents and encourage them to mark their property.

Each home will be given a SmartWater forensic property marking kit to help them protect their valuables such as mobile phones, laptops, televisions and jewellery.

Each kit has a unique forensic code which is registered on a secure database together with the property owner’s details. It can be used by police to help them trace recovered marked property and link suspects to crime scenes.

The markings are only visible under ultra violet light and are almost impossible to remove. Residents who use the kits are urged to put up MetTrace window stickers in their homes to deter crooks.

Barnet’s borough commander Adrian Usher said: “No home that has got SmartWater in London has been burgled. There are nearly half a million homes in Barnet. I know that the residents in Barnet are concerned about burglary.”

He said the scheme was a good way for police to talk to residents concerning them and make it harder for crooks. During a Met Police trial across five boroughs burglary rates dropped by an average of 49 per cent and detectives said some areas saw a 70 per cent drop in burglary.

Barnet’s chief inspector for neighbourhood policing Dave Lobb said: “Thieves are frightened of this technology .” He urged residents to sign up and make appointments if police leave a “sorry we missed you” card through their door.

The Met Police will be distributing 440,000 kits across London over the next three years.

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