New advanced fingerprint technology unveiled in UK to target criminals

UK Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin has unveiled an advanced fingerprint visualisation technology to target criminals.

This technology makes use of an innovative chemical to recover fingerprints from surfaces that are challenging.

The technology can recover fingerprints from items exposed to high temperatures, including IED components and fired ammunition cases in a warzone, in addition to metal items that have been deliberately cleaned, such as knives.

This technique can help forensic experts in identifying criminals ranging from insurgents to burglars.

Baldwin said: “British innovation is progressing at a rapid pace and we are investing millions in it to keep our country safe. Whether it’s used on a foreign battlefield or a British crime scene, this pioneering fingerprint technology will make it much harder for criminals to escape justice.”

The technology has been developed jointly by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), the Centre for Applied Science and Technology (CAST) and Loughborough University.

The project was initiated at Loughborough University. The concept was discovered by Dr Paul Kelly at the university, and developed by Dstl into an operational capability. Forensic science equipment supplier Foster + Freeman (F+F) will fine-tune the technology before commercially launching it early next year.

Dstl Defence Security Analysis Division executive Steve Thorngate said: “Through our work with Dr Paul Kelly at Loughborough University, the ability to significantly increase fingerprint recovery rates from items recovered, means that criminals will find it much harder to conceal their identity. Although the technology needs further refinement, it will be of significant benefit to forensic scientists across the world."

The licence for this technology has been negotiated by Ploughshare Innovations, which is the technology transfer company of Dstl. The technology has since been licensed by F+F.