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World’s first dog DNA database set up by UK police to catch dognappers

Gemma Atkinson calls for a 'crackdown' on dog thefts

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Gloucestershire Constabulary announced yesterday that they will become the first police force in the world to store dog DNA in a database which can be easily accessed by officers when investigating dog thefts.

Dog owners are invited to purchase a £74.99 DNA kit and take a swab from their dog’s mouth as part of the ‘DNA Protected’ scheme.

The samples are then sent to forensic testing company, Cellmark, which has developed the dog DNA database.

Owners can also purchase branded accessories – such as leads, collars, car stickers and tags – to alert thieves that their pet is part of the scheme, and hopefully act as a deterrent.

Temporary chief Inspector, Emma MacDonald, said: “There has been a national rise in dog thefts since the beginning of the Covid pandemic and I am hopeful that this initiative will help to reassure owners and protect the dogs of Gloucestershire.

“Dog theft can have a massive impact on the owner and their families and as a force we are committed to doing all that we can to prevent dog thefts from happening.

“All of our police dogs have been profiled and given new Velcro patches for their harnesses which shows our confidence in the scheme.”

Chris Allen, Gloucestershire Constabulary’s head of forensic services, said: “DNA is unique and a fact that has enabled Forensic Services to identify criminals for many years.

“With the application of the same processes used for human identification, the DNA Protected service promises a searchable database of canine DNA information.

“I am confident that DNA Protected will greatly assist police in reducing the heart-breaking crime of dog theft and reuniting pets with their owners in the future.”

David Hartshorne, managing director for Cellmark, said: “We are pleased to be assisting Gloucestershire Constabulary to prevent and investigate dog theft.

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“We developed the DNA Protected service to assist with crime prevention and to help the police return stolen or lost dogs to their owners.

“It’s great that our forensic DNA tools, which have been used for many years to identify people and investigate crime, will now be used to help combat dog theft.”

DNA Protected products are available to purchase here.

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