What is it about?

Everyday plastic materials, such as carrier bags, light switches or mobile phones, contain pigments and other additives to control the colour and improve the material properties. These pigments can detrimentally affect the development of fingerprints in some cases by attracting the developer (such as a fine powder) to the pigment instead of the fingerprint.

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Why is it important?

Poor fingerprint development can lead to complete loss of forensic evidence, or reduction in the fine features visible on the fingerprint meaning recovered evidence is inconclusive and cannot be used to identify, or exclude, a suspect. This work helps improve fingerprint development processes on plastic surfaces by highlighting good options and the reasons behind poor mark development, aiding a more informed choice of technique. This work features in UK Government guidance and is relevant to single colour materials such as electrical fittings to more complicated items such as polymer banknotes.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The Effects of Polymer Pigmentation on Fingermark Development Techniques, Journal of Forensic Sciences, July 2013, Wiley, DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.12206.
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