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Fingermark submission decision-making within a UK fingerprint laboratory: Do experts get the marks that they need?

Earwaker, H; Morgan, RM; Harris, AJ; Hall, LJ; (2015) Fingermark submission decision-making within a UK fingerprint laboratory: Do experts get the marks that they need? Science and Justice , 55 (4) pp. 239-247. 10.1016/j.scijus.2015.01.007. Green open access

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Abstract

Within UK policing it is routinely the responsibility of fingerprint laboratory practitioners to chemically develop areas of latent fingerprint ridge detail on evidential items and to determine which areas of ridge detail are of sufficient quality to be submitted to fingerprint experts for search or comparison against persons of interest. This study assessed the effectiveness of the fingermark submission process within the Evidence Recovery Unit Fingerprint Laboratory of the Metropolitan Police Service. Laboratory practitioners were presented with known source fingermark images previously deemed identifiable or insufficient by fingerprint experts, and were asked to state which of the marks they would forward to the Fingerprint Bureau. The results indicated that practitioners forwarded a higher percentage of insufficient fingermarks than is acceptable according to current laboratory guidelines, and discarded a number of marks that were of sufficient quality for analysis. Practitioners forwarded more insufficient fingermarks when considering fingermarks thought to be related to a murder and discarded more sufficient fingermarks when considering those thought to be related to a crime of 'theft from vehicle'. The results highlight the need for fingerprint laboratories to work alongside fingerprint experts to ensure that a consistent approach to decision-making is, as far as possible, achieved, and that appropriate thresholds are adopted so as to prevent the loss of valuable evidence and improve the efficiency of the fingerprint filtering process.

Type: Article
Title: Fingermark submission decision-making within a UK fingerprint laboratory: Do experts get the marks that they need?
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.scijus.2015.01.007
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scijus.2015.01.007
Language: English
Additional information: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Contextual information, Decision-making, Fingermark sufficiency, Fingerprint development
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Security and Crime Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1470119
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