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Salvation Army commissions SmartWater to crack down on theft

Textile collector Salvation Army Trading Company (SATCOL) has revealed it has once again redesigned its clothing banks to make them ‘theft proof’ and has also come to an agreement with forensic security company SmartWater to further discourage theft.

SmartWater uses state-of-the-art forensic technology to provide traceability for many of the nation’s utility firms including the UK’s power, telecoms and railway infrastructures, in a bid to deter metal and cable theft.

SATCOL national recycling coordinator Paul Ozanne said the new agreement with SmartWater should help discourage theft and help trace stolen textiles as well as helping to secure criminal charges against thieves. “Together, we want to make SATCOL banks the most difficult to attack,” he said.

“SmartWater is an excellent way to both catch criminals and deter future thefts and we’re confident it will succeed in doing both. However, it is one element of an overall anti-theft strategy we’re employing, including improved locking mechanisms, increased use of CCTV and emptying banks several times per week so large amounts of donations aren’t left for long periods,” he added.

SmartWater has already started a detailed analysis of SATCoL’s current theft data and will produce a ‘hotspot’ map, highlighting the most problematic geographical areas. These specific areas will then be targeted with the invisible solution, with each bank having its own unique chemical code to aid the tracking process. Signage highlighting the potential presence of the invisible solution will also be rolled out across SATCOL’s entire network of banks to act as a deterrent to criminals. This operation is expected to be ongoing.

The move to tighten security come as the textiles collector continues to work with the Police, Trading Standards and WRAP, to tackle the issue of bogus and illegal operators. Ozanne revealed that work was underway on an electronic toolkit, to be used by Trading Standards and the Police to  make legislation easier to understand and enforcement simpler, as well as providing more assurance that donated clothing items were ending up in the right place.

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