November 7, 2023

Retailers Given High Tech Tool to Combat Shoplifting in Huddersfield

A high tech, traceable, crime-fighting liquid is being rolled out to retailers in Huddersfield in new drive to combat store theft.

Huddersfield BID is working in partnership with West Yorkshire Police and West Yorkshire Combined Authority to roll out innovative, anti-theft solution, SmartWater, to levy paying businesses within the Huddersfield BID zone.

SmartWater is an effective forensic marking system that has been found to be more identifiable and accurate than DNA, making it an excellent deterrent against shoplifters and thieves.

The system employs a virtually invisible, traceable liquid solution, either in a small spray bottle or a forensic trap device, which carries a unique forensic code. A small amount is applied onto valuable items, from electronics to perfumes and jewellery, creating a link between goods and businesses.

Once applied the SmartWater liquid leaves an indelible mark that is almost impossible to remove, significantly increasing the chance of goods being traceable and retrievable.

Sergeant Toni Ramsden of the Huddersfield Town Centre Team, says: “We have been working very closely with Huddersfield BID and have been delighted to collaborate with them on the launch of SmartWater in Huddersfield.DNA marking products such as SmartWater have been highly successful when deployed in other towns and cities in West Yorkshire, providing a real asset in helping us detect shoplifting and prosecute offenders.

We are supporting the roll out in Huddersfield with increased policing patrols in the town centre, including the deployment of plain clothes officers to patrol stores and catch shoplifters in the act. Those tempted to steal from retailers should be warned that undercover police are patrolling to watch for them and, if they do steal SmartWater marked products, they will be ‘tagged’ and linked directly to the offence.

We are collaborating very closely with stores through Huddersfield BID and our other partnership networks taking action against thieves and are determined to help them fight back against store theft.

This security solution is currently used across the country and is well known to criminals. Deploying SmartWater in Huddersfield and displaying prominent signage around the town centre and inside participating stores will support everybody in the fight against retail crime. As part of their objective to help make Huddersfield a safe and attractive place to visit, work and live, Huddersfield BID has funded the deployment of SmartWater and there will be no additional cost to levy payers who want to get involved.

Sam Sharp, BID Manager, comments “Huddersfield BID is passionate about our town and we are excited to be working with West Yorkshire Police and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority on the SmartWater project.

Our Street Rangers are a positive presence in the town centre, their daily patrols and the business relationships they have developed are key to making Huddersfield a safer place to live, work and visit.One of our key objectives is to create a safer Huddersfield, the SmartWater project sends a clear message to would-be shoplifters and individuals visiting our town with the intent to shoplift, that we are fighting back.

We understand the financial loss and damage that retail theft causes to hardworking businesses, which is why the SmartWater scheme, along with other Huddersfield BID initiatives is such an important project.I say this to any potential shoplifters entering our town, we are a SmartWater town, we have Street Rangers, we have a Shoplink Radio scheme, we are a community that works together, shares knowledge and is determined to make a positive impact.”

Currently, 12 businesses in the Huddersfield BID zone have signed up to the scheme:

• Cash Generator
• Deichmann
• Dunelm
• Foot Asylum
• Handmade in Huddersfield
• Home Bargains
• Moda Imperiale
• Poundland
• Savers
• The Entertainer
• The Range
• The Works
• WHSmith

The roll out of SmartWater will happen throughout November in participating businesses and we hope we can encourage more of our levy payers to get involved.

Store Manager at The Entertainer in Huddersfield expresses, “Retail theft in Huddersfield has definitely risen over the last few years and we feel it is likely to get worse with the cost of living crisis taking hold on people more and moreIt’s important for us to be involved in the SmartWater scheme so that we can all work together to eradicate shoplifting as much as possible. As businesses we need to work together as much as we can to help Huddersfield get back to its former gloryThe scheme should hopefully act as a deterrent and will help us retrieve stock, therefore limiting our yearly loss.”

The collaboration between Huddersfield BID and West Yorkshire Police, also sees a quarterly Business Crime Reduction Group which is specifically aimed at updating businesses within the BID zone on actions and services provided by Huddersfield BID and the local policing team.

At the meeting, it is discussed how stakeholders can work together in tackling town centre issues with focus on retail crime, which most towns experience. What makes Huddersfield different is that Huddersfield BID and its partners want to help and empower businesses to improve the trading environment for everyone.

The next meeting will be held on Monday 8th January, 6pm to 7pm, at the Head of Steam in Huddersfield. To register your place, click here