Posted on Friday 5th May

Partner agencies from across the rural Chester communities have joined together to celebrate the roll-out of Shield.

The initiative uses a state-of-the-art forensic liquid containing a DNA code unique to each property and can be used to mark belongings, so it can be returned to the owner regardless of where it is recovered. The liquid is barely visible and extremely difficult to remove, so if an offender is caught in possession of stolen items, they can be linked directly back to the scene of the crime.

Since October 2016 the beat team for rural south areas area of Chester Local Policing team have visited over 3,300 homes across Malpas, Coddington, Hanley, Alford, Saighton and Eccleston to roll-out the initiative. In addition the scheme has also been introduced in Huxley, Holgrave, Shockloch, Wigland, Agden, Chorlton, Cuddington and Burwardsley.

To celebrate the success of the scheme an event took place yesterday, Wednesday 3 May, at Farndon War Memorial Hall in Farndon. It was attended by Cheshire Chief Constable Simon Byrne, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioners for Cheshire, Sareda Dirir, and the chairman of the National Farmers’ Union for Cheshire, Phil Latham. Representatives from Selecta DNA, Sanctuary Housing Trust and local Parish Councils also attended.

PC Gerard Gigg, who has led the roll-out, said: “The Shield initiative demonstrates that the Constabulary is continuing to tackle rural crime in all its forms, sending out a clear message that Cheshire will not be a soft touch for criminals.

“Crime in the rural communities surrounding Chester is low and we are committed to doing all that we can to keep it that way.

“As well as distributing property marking kits for Shield, the visits to local homes were also a great opportunity to speak directly with local residents and listen to their concerns and priories for their communities.

“It has also helped to build stronger, more resilient communities by making homes less attractive to those who want to cause harm, as well as playing its part in expanding schemes such as Cheshire Alert, Home Watch and Rural Watch in our rural communities.

“Having a criminal enter your home and take your prized possessions is often a very upsetting and unsettling experience. Criminals who make their living from breaking into homes and business and stealing other people’s possessions now know that across Cheshire, Shield will provide officers with essential evidence to help bring them to justice.”

Following the success, the roll-out will continue over the next few months, with an additional 3,000 homes expected to join the scheme by the end of August, taking the total number of properties to over 6,300 spread across 21 rural parishes.

PC Gigg added: “The feedback regarding the initiative has been extremely positive, and I would like to thank all of the local parish councils and partner agencies for all the support that they have provided.”

“As we move forward it is my aim that every property across the area is signed up to the scheme, helping to shield residents from potential offenders.”

Deputy Police and Crime Commissioners for Cheshire Sareda Dirir said: “I’m really impressed by the work that PC Gidd and his team have carried out in the Rural West Cheshire area. Their commitment, drive and dedication has been outstanding, and this kind of proactive policing is so vital to our rural communities.

“I know that local residents are grateful for the work that they do and I look forward to seeing the progress of this fantastic initiative.”

To find out more about the Shield initiative, including how it works and how to join, visit the Cheshire Police website.