Why bouncers outside South Yorkshire bars will be ‘armed with water’ on nights out

Door staff in pubs and clubs across South Yorkshire have been issued with SmartWater to spray onto troublemakers.

Monday, 9th December 2019, 10:30 am
Updated Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 1:58 pm

Following a successful trial in Sheffield city centre, door staff across South Yorkshire have now been issued with SmartWater canisters to act as a deterrent to those causing problems.

The idea is that it will make troublemakers think twice about their behaviour, knowing that if they are sprayed with the liquid they can be linked back to a specific incident.

SmartWater in each canister has its own unique DNA-style code, with all deployments of the liquid logged.

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The invisible liquid shows up under special lights, allowing police officers to identify those at specific locations when canisters were sprayed.

Temporary Superintendent Lee Berry said: “After a successful trial in Sheffield, I’m really pleased to announce that we are rolling this out across the whole of South Yorkshire.

“We’ve had some great feedback from venues, who have told us that more and more people are recognising SmartWater as something that is there for their safety.

“Unfortunately we do see people visiting our city and town centres intent on causing trouble, whether it be alcohol or drug fuelled, or part of wider criminal activity, it is this behaviour that we need to tackle.

“As a force we are committed to tackling violent crime and this project is a worthwhile investment. It shows we’re serious about innovative ideas and that we’re also looking at ways to improve relationships with premises within the night-time economy.

“As with the trial in Sheffield, door staff will only use SmartWater in serious incidents, not just any scenario involving a confrontation. We will be monitoring its use and keeping track of how often it is being deployed.”

Sergeant Matt Burdett added: “Each tube of SmartWater has a unique code, which means people sprayed with it can be traced directly back to the incident in which it was deployed.

“So if a person involved in a pub fight or disorder is sprayed by door staff, the SmartWater on their clothes or skin can be linked back to that incident, proving they were present and involved. Our officers and custody suites are equipped with UV lights to check for traces of the solution.

“This product, along with footage from body worn cameras, can be really helpful when establishing the background to an incident.”

Dave Andrews, operations manager at Professional Security, a firm which provides door staff to venues across South Yorkshire, said: “This is already proving a fantastic visual deterrent in Sheffield. We have had incidents where problems are bubbling at front doors of venues, but on seeing, or being told about SmartWater, situations are quickly diffused.”

SmartWater was introduced at bars and clubs across South Yorkshire last weekend.