Why you could be sprayed with water on nights out in Sheffield city centre

Door staff in pubs and clubs in Sheffield have been issued with ‘Smart Water’ to identify those involved in serious incidents in city centre venues.

Wednesday, 19th June 2019, 11:15 am
Updated Wednesday, 19th June 2019, 3:32 pm

The high-tech liquid, which is ony visible under special lights, will be sprayed on those involved in incidents including attacks and disorder to help police officers identify potential offenders and witnesses.

Each batch of SmartWater use has its own DNA-type code, linking people sprayed with it to specific locations and incidents.

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Door staff are to use SmartWater in pubs and clubs in Sheffield city centre
Door staff are to use SmartWater in pubs and clubs in Sheffield city centre

Sheffield BID (Business Improvement District) is funding the SmartWater scheme to help attract more people to the city centre.

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The liquid has already been used on over 2,000 homes across the city in a scheme aimed at reducing burglary.

It is used to mark up items of value which can be linked to specific homes on a database.

If the items are ever stolen and recovered, police officers will be able to trace the genuine owners and link suspects to crimes.

Under the new scheme, staff at 25 venues have been trained in how to use SmartWater, including Sheffield Hallam Students' Union and The University of Sheffield.

Sergeant Matt Burdett, of South Yorkshire Police, said: “Each tube of SmartWater has a unique chemical 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 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.”

Detective Chief Inspector Lee Berry said: “The solution will only be carried and used by door staff who have been specially trained, they’ll also be wearing armbands which will identify them as carrying SmartWater.

“Unfortunately, some people do come into our city centre, intent on causing trouble, I want this to be a deterrent to those individuals. This new initiative has potential to disrupt criminality on lots of different levels, from alcohol-related disorder to knife-enabled crime.

“Staff will only be using SmartWater in serious incidents, not just in any scenario where there is a confrontation.

“Sheffield BID and South Yorkshire Police will be monitoring when and how the solution is being used and keeping track of how useful it is and how often it’s being deployed.

“This is a really innovative use of SmartWater, it’s already been tested out in several locations including West Yorkshire and we’re confident it will be a useful tool for venues in Sheffield.”

Diane Jarvis, Sheffield BID Manager, said: “A major part of our work at Sheffield BID is to help attract more people to the city centre, both in the day and into the evening.

“We boast some great social venues, bars and pubs in Sheffield, and it’s important that we make them a welcoming and friendly environment for everyone to enjoy.

“When people come for a night out, we want them to feel safe, well looked after and to have a fantastic time.

“We work very closely with all the major authorities in the city centre to help improve it and make it a desirable place for both residents and visitors.

“We are delighted to be able to support South Yorkshire Police with the implementation of SmartWater in night-time venues and are sure that this innovative tool will have a positive influence on violent behaviour in the future.”

SmartWater will be used by door staff from this Friday, June 21.