Condom-aware fingerprint tech set for use

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Media caption The particular technology can tell whether the person offers touched blood and if it is from the human or animal

Fingerprint technology which can detect the particular brand of hair gel used by the suspect or whether they have dealt with a condom could soon become admissible in court.

The technique uses a kind of mass spectrometry to detect remnants of various substances within a fingerprint.

It can provide “diverse information” about a suspect, including any alcoholic beverages or drug use, researchers possess said.

The Home Workplace said it could be “only months” just before it is used in casework.

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Teams from Sheffield Hallam University have been working with Western Yorkshire Police to pilot the particular technique.

Project prospect Dr Simona Francese said the particular technology had been used to detect bloodstream in a 30-year-old print, meaning it may be used in cold case reviews.

“I would want to see this particular technology in high-profile cases like murder or rape. It’s very advanced, it’s expensive but it’s beneficial, ” she added.


How does bulk spectrometry work?

Image caption Various particles from a fingerprint can be analysed to give more information about a person
  • The conditional technique is used to find traces associated with substances on or within the side rails of the fingerprint
  • It works by vaporising the sample and then firing this through an electric and magnetic industry inside a vacuum
  • Particles of different bulk behave differently under these problems, which means the team at Sheffield Hallam University can identify substances found within the print
  • The information available applying this technique is diverse. For example , searching at the proteins found in the print researchers can tell if the person is female or male

Researchers have been working with Western Yorkshire Police to check the technology since 2012.

Dr Francese said: “When you think about what a fingerprint is, that it is nothing else but sweat and perspire is a biological matrix.

“It contains molecules from within the body but also molecules that you have just polluted your fingertips with, so the quantity of information there potentially to get is huge. ”

Image caption Dr Simona Francese wants bulk spectrometry to be used in high-profile courtroom cases

Neil Denison, acting director associated with Yorkshire and the Humber Regional Technological Support at West Yorkshire Law enforcement, said: “We’re very, very confident to keep up with criminals quite frankly, which is one way that we can do that.

“It confirms the hopes because that’s what this particular work is about. It’s about trying to the future, fingerprints have been pretty heavy for 80 or 90 many years but in the future we are hopeful that will we’ll be able to get more useful cleverness from fingerprints that will help us within the prevention and detection of criminal offense. ”


What can we tell in regards to a person by using mass spectrometry?

  • Their gender
  • Whether the individual has touched blood and whether it be from a human or animal
  • Whether they have taken drugs. Cocaine, THC (the chemical in marijuana plus cannabis), heroin, amphetamine and other medicines can be detected.
  • Whether a follicle of hair is present on the finger-print
  • If there are traces of cleaning items or cosmetics
  • Whether the individual has touched condom lubricants, also determining the brand
  • What drink and food has been consumed (such as garlic clove and caffeine)

The house Office has invested £ eighty, 000 in the project, with older technical specialist Stephen Bleay creating a blueprint for all police allows in the UK to use.

He said: “There’s a lot of medical work going on, with Sheffield Hallam University and West Yorkshire Law enforcement visiting crime scenes looking at just how this technique could fit in with the work stream of collecting conventional forensic proof and other types of evidence, such as GENETICS and fibres.

“I think it’s fairly close to bottoming-out all the questions that could be raised in courtroom.

“It’s possible this really is only months away from being used upon casework. ”

Matn Holleran, senior lecturer in policing studies at York St Mark University, said this was a “great opportunity” for criminal investigations.

“Fingerprinting has only existed since the early 1900s. Since then you might have the Edmond Locard theory of each crime leaves a trace, which kind of builds on that, inch he said.