DNA technology to protect school gear

LAUREN HAYES
Last updated 05:00 21/09/2013

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DNA has long been a staple of science textbooks but will now be used to protect valuable equipment in Southland schools.

Ninety primary and secondary schools throughout Southland will be presented with a Selecta DNA kit next week, as part of the nationwide BNZ Safer Schools programme.

The programme is a joint effort between the bank and New Zealand police.

Objects marked with Selecta DNA reveal a unique serial number when placed under a UV light, making it easier to prove an item was stolen.

Inspector Olaf Jensen, of Invercargill, said schools were often targeted by thieves for their electronic equipment, and the BNZ Safer Schools scheme was a way to deter this theft.

"It's all just that second thought for the offender - should I be targeting this premises?"

Selecta DNA was basically an updated version of invisible ink, and could also be purchased for private use, he said.

BNZ business manager Kirsty McNeill said Selecta DNA would also help schools recover items which had been stolen.

"Every year the police have a crazy amount of equipment ... left over that they can't place back with the owners because there's no way to identify it, so this solves that problem for schools."

Each school will be provided with a free kit at the launch of the BNZ Safer Schools programme on September 26.

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