A special, law enforcement, edition of the Tippmann TiPX paintball pistol. In this particular picture, the paintball marker is not set up to fire. Below the barrel sits a 12g CO2 cartridge, which is not present. (via


Crowd control can be a nightmare for law enforcement officers, especially when a riot breaks out and they need to monitor the more serious criminal activity within the crowds. It’s certainly easy even for veterans to lose a suspect in a sea of people but how do you keep track of those who are committing egregious acts without harming innocent bystanders? Employing teargas and flash-bang grenades are an excellent option at dissipating and dispersing crowds but are wholly ineffective when it comes to isolating a single person or even a group of persons. Another option is to fire rubber bullets at the offender/s but there’s no guarantee that using those will stop the perpetrator/s. So what’s the next best option without using lethal force? Shoot them with a special projectile that ‘plants’ DNA on the suspects, which can then be tracked and found at a later time that’s significantly less confrontational.


That’s the idea behind UK security company SelectDNA’s (Advanced Forensic Marking) High Velocity DNA Tagging System. The company recently unveiled their new tagging system design (at Shot Show 2013) using synthetic DNA that has infinite combinations and are available in both rifle and handgun form. The pellets come in packs of 14 contain the same DNA code, which is made up of a series of tiny dots each containing that specific code suspended in a non-toxic UV solution. Once the suspect or object has been tagged it can be located by using portable readers outfitted with a UV scanner. The scan is then compared to SelectDNA’s database to verify that it is a legit code and hasn’t been forged (DNA forging on the rise?). According to SelectDNA’s website, the synthetic DNA can remain on clothing and skin for a period of about 2 weeks even if the clothing or skin has been washed several times over. While the idea of using synthetic DNA to ‘tag’ people or items sounds like a surefire way to catch criminals it does have one major drawback in that each pellet code per-clip is the same. Meaning you could tag several people in a crowd but there is the possibility of tagging innocent people who may not have had a hand in promoting a riot. Not to mention the system will not offer any deterrence against a violent mob engaged in property destruction or looting.