Video of UK cops ramming suspect's scooter, then the suspect

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The article would seem to suggest that all of a sudden the police have just started to run people over. We should be aware that a hands off approach to moped crime has empowered these miscreants to something beyond what anyone could call reasonable behaviour?


From an advertisement on Wikipedia, each can of the spray is tagged with an id encoded in A (Adenine), C (Cytosine), G (Guanine) and T (Thymine) chains of “synthetic DNA”.

Cool story, but I think it would be very expensive and complicated to mix up a unique batch of tagger molecule for every single spray can. More likely, they do batches of cans with the same tag and then shuffle them into other batches.


Basically the same principle as dogs pissing on things, then?


In going from “completely ignoring an emergent trend in criminal activity” to “running teenagers over with our cars” I feel they might have missed some other options.


I recently heard about cops ramming mopeds in London. There has been a spike in moped based purse snatching and the police have resorted to less than desirable tactics.

At least he was wearing his high-visibility vest. /s


This still seems more restrained than what we have in the US.


From the SelectaDNA website:

SelectaDNA Tagging Spray is an offender marking spray that is used to deter and prevent criminal behaviour. The Tagging Spray works by spraying and tagging the offender with an invisible solution of unique synthetic DNA code and UV marker that clings to skin and clothing for weeks for days, weeks or even months. The forensic DNA allows the police to immediately link the suspect to a crime scene.

The solution contains a unique DNA code that is registered to the user and location. Police use an ultraviolet light to locate marked areas of skin and clothing, immediately linking the offender to a crime scene.

DNA is really cheap to synthesize and done in a large scale. The detection technology is very sensitive so each can doesn’t need too much DNA either. Cans are reported to cost ~$500 each. Once that crime has been resolved the can can probably be reused. The DNA is apparently fairly short sequences as they are more robust and can last for 5 years in the environment/on clothing. Even a 20 base sequence has 1.1e+12 possible sequences - the naturally occurring ones. The sequence would have to be longer if it had a common primer region for PCR but I suspect that’s no needed.

The Chinese authorities have been using spray with UV markers in Hong Kong. I would not be surprised if it didn’t have DNA markers in it too.

SelectaDNA forensic markers can also be detected by trained search dogs. In partnership with Search Dogs UK, the dogs are the first in the world to be trained to sniff out SelectaDNA markings and have already assisted many UK police forces.

They must have added a chemical at a lower enough level that dogs can smell but we cant.


The kid on the scooter was probably white; so, even in the US, lethal force wouldn’t have been authorised.


I respectfully disagree. The scooter rider was heading toward the cop car, pursued by another cop on a moto. He attempted to get around the oncoming cop car, which blocked the road by turning into the curb. The scooter then collided with the blocking car. The scooter knew it was being pursued and continue to attempt to escape. If it had stopped, there would have been no collision.

Your headline would be comparable to saying, if this were all on foot, that a policeman had run into an escaping suspect, when in fact the suspect ran right into the cop trying to catch him or her.


The cop car is not merely blocking the road. It’s ramming the scooter. In fact, at the moment of contact, it appears to be a side impact. That’s not footage you’d want to have to turn over to an insurer looking to split hairs after a road accident.

QED. Heading back to America for a moment, this is what they say when they shoot people. The bullet is worse than the bumper, of course.


“No visible injuries at the moment”

Wait til we get you in the back of the van.

The extent of moped crime (crime committed from the back of a moped rather than just the theft of mopeds) has increased hugely in the last few years especially in the Met area, there have been several strong debates in MAG (Motorcycle Action Group) meetings and magazine.

I doubt that more than 1 in 20 chases end like this, normally a quick scoot down an alley will bring it to an end.


Other fluids contain more DNA.

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Those cops are lucky they didn’t ram into Scooter from GoBots, or else they would be in a heap of trouble!



All of that is true. (The best lies are. :sunglasses:) However…

  • The cost of synthesizing a unique batch for every single can would be large.
  • Taking an off-the-shelf spray can production line, and modifying it to add that unique batch to each can without contaminating other cans is probably not the kind of stuff you do with low-wage workers. It would be much easier to run batches, cleaning between batches.
  • For police purposes, probably correct is good enough to get people to plead guilty to a lesser charge.
  • Profit motive. Even if you sell cans for $500, you still want to make them as cheap as possible. They have high costs maintaining a reliable database of cans, so they’d look for savings elsewhere.
  • In military/police applications, science baloney sells very well.
  • No one is going to be able to afford the legal team and expert witnesses to cast doubt on that evidence.

I could be wrong, but I’ll bet on base human nature most of the time.


I’m not sure moped owners are really grateful that the thief gets his head kicked in if their stolen property is damaged beyond repair. I know I would be just as angry with the police as with the thief-- end result is the same: no moped.

The deterrence argument I don’t find convincing-- why not just argue for the death penalty, for example.


Is the standard punishment handed down by courts in the UK for vehicle theft summary execution? If not, then you should be concerned about the day when police ramming a scooter driver turns lethal. That day, the rule of law dies, too.


This all happened in my little part of East London. The copper’s assertion that the suspect was riding his moped through a park is stretching the facts of the case somewhat. The road does run through the middle of Victoria Park, but it’s fenced off, and the vast majority of dog walkers, playing kids, etc. are the other side of those cast iron railings.

The two police cars could have successfully blocked the road and trapped the suspect without ramming the scooter. It seems that’s not what they were trained to do, though.

Given what we see of the suspect, the cash he has on him, and the mention of class A drugs, it seems reasonable to theorise that he was doing Seamless style to-the-customer’s-door deliveries of coke. This explains some of the ferocity of the police response. He was probably part of something bigger and well organised that they’d been tracking for a while.

They don’t tend to go this heavy on purse and mobile phone snatchers, as far as I’ve seen. When I was mugged for my mobile some years ago (long story), coppers chased down my attackers on foot. That was 2011, and maybe now they’d try to run that guy over, but I doubt it.

In any case, better social policy would alleviate the causes of much moped-related crime. The current ruling party has no understanding of inner cities or metropolitan areas.


Moped criminals in London aren’t just stealing bikes, they were behind a significant increase in serious violent robberies, and sometimes even more serious offences, using stolen mopeds to escape on. It used to be the case that the police would stop chasing them if they did so, particularly if they took their helmets off, or drove dangerously. This meant that police officers, in hot pursuit of people involved in stabbings etc, had to stop chasing them because of the the subject. Not only did people think that was wrong, it actively encouraged more criminals to use mopeds to commit crime, so they could use this perceived get out of jail card. Using appropriate “tactical contact” where the seriousness of the offence warrants, seems a much more sensible approach to me.