The findings include the development of a method to analyse fingerprints by using x-rays and nanoparticles and a study into how fingerprints can corrode metal surfaces. For example, when a metal cartridge case (like a gun) is held, fingerprints are deposited which can become enhanced after firing.
Forensic analysis of crime scenes is also helping researchers to explore how drug use affects an offender’s likelihood of being caught. A further project looks at ways of identifying offenders by the traces of their footwear and results have already shown that they tend to vary the make or type of shoe, but not the cost.
The collaboration first started when a student on a forensic psychology master’s class undertook dissertation research in the Northamptonshire Scientific Support Unit. The unit now regularly takes students on placements and a new framework agreement, between the research centre and the police support unit, will be signed in May.