Police using Spider-Man style web trap in UK

The X-Net is the police's latest weapon in the fight against crime
The X-Net is the police's latest weapon in the fight against crime

New crime-busting tech, primarily used by the US military, is being rolled out across two police constabularies in the UK in a bid to combat vehicle felonies.

Made by QinetiQ, the X-Net is a hi-tech 'spider web' which stops cars in their tracks, literally encompassing the vehicle as it tries to escape.

Made from polyethylene fibre 'Dyneema' netting – a substance which is both lightweight and ultra strong – the X-Net is being touted as a safer rival to the police stinger, a device which punctures car tyres without making sure the vehicle comes to a safe stop.

The X-Net has been around for three years, and was first used by the US military.

Variety of uses

TechRadar spoke to Claire Scotter, External Communications Manager of QinetiQ, and she told us it had a number of applications.

"There are various ways the X-Net can be deployed. For instance, it can be used in a checkpoint situation to control vehicle flow. This is essential when there is a terrorist alert," explained Scotter.

"It may also be used to cordon off areas of roadways to stop vehicles getting in and out."

Stops trucks

So far it is just the Gloucestershire and Kent police who have decided to use the X-Net.

But with a speedy deployment time (of around 20 seconds) and the fact that the device can be fitted into a holdall, and stop vehicles up to the size of a 5 tonne truck, the old-fashioned stinger could soon be a thing of the past.

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, Shortlist.com at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.