This research investigates the recoverability of fingerprints which have been exposed to elevated temperatures in order to mimic the environment a piece of paper may be exposed to within an arson scene. Arson is an expensive crime, costing the UK economy, on average, £53.8 million each week . Anything which may give rise to the identity of the fire setter should be analysed and as such, unburnt paper may be a potential source of fingerprints. While it is true that even a moderate fire will obscure and render partially useless some types of evidence, many items, including fingerprints, may still survive [2-4]. This research has shown that fingerprints are still retrievable from paper which has been subjected to the maximum testing conditions of 200˚C for 320min. In fact, some fingerprints naturally enhance themselves by the heating process. This investigation has also shown that the most effective enhancement technique was found to be 1,8-diazafluoren-9-one (DFO) for exposure temperatures upto 100˚C. Physical developer (PD) is the most effective enhancement technique for exposure temperatures from 100˚C to 200˚C. For porous surfaces, there are fingerprint development techniques which are effective at enhancing fingerprints exposed upto a temperature of 200˚C, irrespective of the firefighting extinguishing technique, as PD, in addition to developing fingerprints exposed to high temperatures, is one of the few processes which will enhance fingermarks on wetted surfaces.
|Number of pages||14|
|Journal||Journal of Forensic Identification|
|Publication status||Published - 2010|
- arson investigations
- crime scene search
- fingerprint image quality
- scientific techniques