DNA security tech to tackle stolen dogs scourge

March 13, 2023


The number of dogs being stolen is on the rise, fuelled by the significant increase in the cost of certain breeds, new research suggests.

Pet Theft Awareness Week, which starts today (March 13), explores ways to prevent the crimes happening in the first place.

One such measure is DNA Protected and the Forensic Dog DNA database, a low-cost crime prevention initiative developed with Gloucestershire Police.

It is approved by Secured by Design (SBD) official police security initiative for security products that can deter and reduce crime.

DNA Protected makes the forensic DNA profiling technology that has revolutionised the investigation of human crime available to dog owners, delivering an identification system that cannot fail or be removed.

Not only can it act as a deterrent to thieves, it is also the most reliable way to prove ownership and so help the police return stolen dogs to their rightful owners.

DNA Protected is being rolled out by a growing number of forces working together with leading Forensic Science Provider Cellmark.

If you would like to learn more about how Cellmark and DNA Protected can support dog theft prevention please visit the DNA Protected website.

Police Crime Prevention Initiatives (Police CPI) is a police owned organisation which delivers a wide range of crime prevention and demand reduction initiatives across the UK.

The extensive Police CPI portfolio covers a variety of crime prevention initiatives, of which Secured by Design is the most well-known, with all initiatives designed to keep the public safe from crime and to reduce the demand on the police service.

Secured by Design (SBD) operates an accreditation scheme on behalf of the UK Police Service for products or services that have met recognised security standards. These products or services – which must be capable of deterring or preventing crime – are known as being of a ‘Police Preferred Specification’.

There are many hundreds of companies who produce over 7,000 individual attack resistant crime prevention products in more than 30 different categories that have met the exacting Police Preferred Specification.

This includes doors, windows, external storage, bicycle and motorcycle security, locks and hardware, asset marking, alarms, CCTV, safes, perimeter security products and many others.
SBD is the only way for companies to obtain police recognition for security-related products in the UK.

According to separate research from pet retailer Pets at Home, the average puppy in the UK now costs a hefty £1,875 – more than double the average price in 2019. And some breeds will set you back an average of nearly £3,000.
The government’s Pet theft Task Force reported in September 2021 and confirmed:
• – The price of dogs rose during the pandemic
• – There is a high level of perceived fear around pet theft
• – There is intelligence that a significant proportion of dog theft is carried out by Organised Crime Groups
• – The emotional impact of losing a pet is considerable
• – The report also recommended supporting the pilots of some police forces trialling new voluntary forms of ID, such as DNA databases and forensic marking to work alongside microchipping
A survey by The British Association for Shooting & Conservation (BASC) in 2021 found that of the 3400 respondents, over 75% had already taken additional measures to protect their dogs from theft over the previous year.
DNA Protected involves owners taking a simple mouth swab from their dog which is analysed at Cellmark using the same type of forensic DNA technology used to investigate human crime.
DNA Protected charges the owner a single fee to have their dog profiled and stored on the forensic dog DNA database for up to 10 years.
With over 30 years’ experience supporting UK police forces with DNA and forensic expertise, Cellmark has a large team of forensic scientists and expert witnesses who provide a wide range of specialist forensic services to support dog theft investigations and prosecutions, from database matching to court room testimony.

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