Fingerprint Tech Reveals Operational Benefits Over Existing Processes
A new and unique fingerprint development process is revolutionising the way forensic experts search for prints.
By: Foster + Freeman
Originally designed for deployment in war zones, where it was used to develop fingermarks on bullet casings and bomb fragments, the RECOVER process has now been independently recognised as being the superior technique for the development of prints on significant evidence types including metals exposed to high temperatures and items that have been purposely washed clean even when using an acetone solution.
No Prints? No Problem
Unlike most existing fingerprint development techniques, the RECOVER process does not require a biological trace to be present to develop an identifiable mark with 3rd-level ridge detail.
Should a trace be present, the RECOVER process will develop the mark in a conventional manner along the ridges of the natural skin oils that are present.
However, if there are no biological traces present (perhaps destroyed by the high flash temperature of a gun being fired), the RECOVER process can reveal equally impressive fingerprints thanks to a unique chemical reaction that occurs on the surface area where skin oils had previously resided.
In fact, the technique is so sensitive that it can even reveal prints on the blade or handle of a knife that has been purposely washed clean and then discarded into a river or lake before being retrieved for examination.
Fingerprints or DNA?
Currently, when an item of evidence requires processing by both fingerprint and DNA laboratories there is a tough decision to be made.
Swabbing for DNA can interfere with latent print development while many fingerprint development processes can compromise the DNA process and increases the risk of cross-contamination evidence.
However, because the RECOVER process does not require DNA to be present, evidence can safely be swabbed for DNA without fear of destroying the potential to visualise fingermarks.
Thanks to its ability to reveal previously 'impossible' fingermarks, leading fingerprint laboratories have been quick to adopt the new technology including police labs intending to use the technology for cold case review as well as future investigations.
Foster and Freeman