Fingerprints & Marks

Fingerprints

Probably the oldest of the forensic disciplines, fingerprints are still the only unique means of human identification in that the fingerprint detail required to identify crime scene marks could be from one person only and can be no one else. Members of the same family, even identical twins, have different fingerprint detail. We offer a comprehensive service including:

  • A range of specialist light sources to optimize the initial recovery of fingerprints in a none destructive manner;
  • A range of physical and chemical enhancement procedures to maximize fingerprint recovery carried out in accordance with the CAST fingerprint manual;
  • Specialist enhancement of fingerprints associated with blood-staining;
  • Interpretation of the method of formation of fingerprints associated with blood staining to rule out or include the possibility of blood being coincidentally associated with a pre-existing fingerprint;
  • Provision of fingerprint recovery expertise in the laboratory and at crime scenes;
  • Review of historic cases to establish if advances in fingerprint development techniques could be applied to retained exhibits given previous examinations that may have been carried out;
  • Removal of smoke residues in fire scenes to locate underlying fingerprints;
  • Consultancy regarding the integration of a fingerprint recovery strategy with other forensic disciplines to maximize overall forensic evidence;
  • Specialist photography of fingerprints;
  • Comparison of fingerprints with reference prints from a named individual;
  • Submission for comparison with IDENT1, the national fingerprint database;
  • Assessment of the quality of fingerprints recovered from items for comparison and identification purposes;
  • An assessment of the position of the fingerprint and its orientation, so as to give a full interpretation of how the item or surface had been handled.

 

Photography

Our specialist photographic services include high standard examination-quality photography of fingerprints, bloodstains, footwear marks and other marks for further analysis. All such work is carried out in line with the Home Office Digital Imaging Procedure 2007. Our expertise includes:

  • Traditional and digital photography;
  • Re-examining and reprinting previously taken imagery, applying image processing methods for enhancement or restoration;
  • Macro-photography and photomicrography of the smallest of items;
  • Production of high quality visual aids and albums.

Toolmarks

Our forensic scientists analyse areas of damage in items of clothing and other items in order to determine what may have caused the material or item to become distorted, broken or torn. Such areas of damage often exhibit specific characteristics that can enable them to be classified, for example, as cuts or tears. Further, as tools used in causing damage often have wear that is individual to each item, a specific mark can be left when it is used to pry, cut or otherwise damage a given surface or item. Our work in this area includes:

  • Examine marks and provide opinion as to whether or not specific items may have caused the damage/mark;
  • Using macro-and microscopic features, examine broken items to ascertain whether or not they may have originally fitted together as one prior to being damaged (physical fit);
  • Microscopic analysis of areas of damage to assess its cause, e.g. cutting or tearing;
  • Controlled testing of items to assess whether or not a particular item could have caused the damage in question.

*for full schedule of accreditation please see the UKAS website

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