From copper to court: translation from the research laboratory to the practitioner of a new methodology for revealing latent fingermarks on metal surfaces

Date

2016-06

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Conference

Peer reviewed

Yes

Abstract

There has been a renaissance in the innovation of physicochemical methods for the visualisation of latent fingermarks, but the challenge is their translation into the operational context. The situation is highlighted by the inclusion of a number of “category C” methods (emerging technologies) in the CAST Fingermark Visualisation Manual: their exploitation is presently restricted by the need for forensic laboratories to satisfy ISO17025 and associated validation. This presentation will discuss an innovative approach to this problem.

The technology in question is galvanic silver deposition method for copper-containing metallic surfaces. An independent review was undertaken, using a non-fingermark practitioner from a Forensic Service Provider, whose career background enabled the focus on five key criteria: safety, effectiveness, cost, application and chemical longevity. A standard operating procedure has been written and, subsequent to review by fingermark experts, a validation plan developed. Communication to police forces and government agencies has resulted in visits to operational laboratories to demonstrate the technology. Consultation reveals significant operational potential, notably in the development of marks previously not viable for casework.

Ultimately, this method promises identifications in offences as diverse as metal theft, violent crime and wildlife crime. The results of an upcoming review by CAST from the Home Office will also be discussed. It is envisaged that this short term project will be an exemplar to others in promoting research to the end users and implementation within the Criminal Justice System.

Description

Keywords

Cuprous Metal Copper Bronze Brass Fingermark Development

Citation

Nichols-Drew, L., Coulston, J. and Hillman, R. (2016) 'From copper to court: translation from the research laboratory to the practitioner of a new methodology for revealing latent fingermarks on metal surfaces.' BAHID 2016 Conference CAHID, Dundee

Rights

Research Institute

Leicester Institute for Pharmaceutical Innovation - From Molecules to Practice (LIPI)