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A forensic geoscience framework and practice

Morgan, RM; Allen, E; Lightowler, ZL; Freudiger-Bonzon, J; Bull, PA; (2008) A forensic geoscience framework and practice. Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice , 2 (2) pp. 185-195. 10.1093/police/pan021. Green open access

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Abstract

Appropriate and correct collection, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of geoforensic evidence are contingent upon understanding the specific context of the particular forensic investigation undertaken. To achieve this, the role of experimental studies in forensic geoscience must not be underestimated. In this article, we present two experimental studies that assess the spatial distribution of pollen in a living room and the nature of subsequent transfer of pollen onto clothing. The presence of cut flowers in a living room are shown to lead to a distribution of pollen grains onto all types of surface in that room that exhibits a distance–decay pattern with the greatest numbers of grains found in close proximity to the flowers. Once the transfer of pollen grains from a source location onto clothing has taken place, our second study demonstrates the nature of the persistence of that evidence for dry and damp clothing under active and inactive conditions. The level of activity after transfer is shown to have far more influence upon the persistence of this form of geoforensic evidence in comparison to the damp or dry conditions of the garment. We argue that these findings have implications for all stages of the forensic investigation–from sampling protocols to the interpretation of the presence/absence of geoforensic evidence. Whilst every contact does indeed leave a trace, it is imperative that there is an appreciation of the context of each forensic investigation, meaningful science take place and accurate and helpful crime reconstructions to be achieved.

Type: Article
Title: A forensic geoscience framework and practice
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/police/pan021
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/police/pan021
Language: English
Additional information: This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Morgan, RM and Allen, E and Lightowler, ZL and Freudiger-Bonzon, J and Bull, PA (2009) A forensic geoscience framework and practice. Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice 2 (2) 185 - 195. is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/police/pan021
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
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/57583
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