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Police cadets help protect Bromley’s war memorials from vandals and thieves

PUBLISHED: 15:38 07 November 2017

Unique invisible liquid has been placed on each memorial

War memorials around the borough are being protected from vandals and metal thieves.

With Remembrance Sunday just days away, police cadets around Bromley have been applying a specialist liquid known as SmartWater, to their local memorials.

Bromley police cadet Hollie Osborn came up with the idea to protect the borough’s memorials.

She said: “With an increase in forensic marking and developing crime prevention technologies in the area, I got in contact with Smartwater to see how police cadets could become actively involved.

“As cadets, we believe it is important to remember and respect the sacrifices made by those who have died, fought or have been affected by conflict and it is therefore particularly exciting for us to be involved with the project.

“We hope our efforts will deter individuals from damaging war memorials.”

More than 60 cadets received training from the War Memorials Trust and the Smart Water Foundation, all of whom were out using their new skills throughout last week.

Frances Moreton, War Memorials Trust’s director, said: “It is wonderful to see young people engaging with their war memorials and acting as the driving force within the community to protect them.

“The charity is delighted to be involved in this initiative and thanks Hollie for proposing the project, updating condition information on War Memorials Online and instigating this borough-wide project.”

SmartWater works by leaving a long lasting and unique identifier which remains invisible until put under ultraviolet light, meaning police can identify if an item has been stolen.

Alan Given, director of SmartWater’s Centre for Infrastructure and Asset Protection, added: “Theft of metal has been a major issue across the United Kingdom for a number of years. In some cases thieves have been so callous as to steal metal from war memorials, selling it on for small amounts of cash, but causing untold hurt and misery to the communities involved.

“At SmartWater we recognise the ultimate price paid by those killed in conflict and believe that we should do all we can to protect and preserve war memorials as a lasting memory. SmartWater, through our charitable arm the SmartWater Foundation, is providing free SmartWater protection to war memorials wherever they are in the United Kingdom, ensuring that criminals know that they can be traced back to the scene of the crime. The Metropolitan Police Cadets are actively involved in the programme in London and are working tirelessly to identify memorials where SmartWater protection can be utilised.”

Councillor Peter Morgan, executive councillor for renewal and recreation, said: “War memorials play an important part in remembering the sacrifices that others have made for us. It is particularly poignant that this work has been completed so close to Remembrance events and we would like to thank the Police Cadets, War Memorials Trust and the SmartWater Foundation for their help and support.”

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