Headlines: November 8th, 2000

Following the successful tagging of prisoners on parole, the idea is being extended to goods to reduce property crime. Companies are being invited to bid for a slice of the 4.5 million pound budget to develop marking and tracking systems based on electronic data tags.By building chips into goods such as videos, hi-fi, computers and car radios at manufacture it will be possible to establish whether the goods have been stolen. The chips will also provide proof of ownership of goods in order to confirm for example that they are genuine and not counterfeit. Chips will also reveal an audit trail to show where goods have been, and who was involved in handling them during their life cycle.

Because the tagging systems will help the police in identifying and recovering stolen merchandise they will be a powerful deterrent to would-be thieves, not only by increasing the risk of being caught but also by making it more difficult for them to find purchasers for stolen merchandise. Evidence from tagging systems will be admissible in court and so will help to convict those responsible for selling on stolen merchandise. A knock on effect of tagging will be lower insurance premiums.

Companies bidding for funding will be told early in 2001 if they were successful. Demonstrator projects will be launched in spring 2001 and the results published about 3 to 6 months later.

Further information can be obtained from ChippingofGoods@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

Information provided by Horn Ltd, suppliers of specialist police information http://www.Horn.ltd.uk