University of Hertfordshire

Identifying the Individual

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  • Stephen Bleay
  • David Charlton
  • Clive Reedman
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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCrime Scene to Court
Subtitle of host publicationThe Essentials of Forensic Science
EditorsPeter White
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherRoyal Society of Chemistry
ISBN (Print)978-1-78262-446-2
Publication statusPublished - 2016


This chapter explores the use of various features of the body and the impressions left by them as means of identification and individualisation, both for crime investigation and for biometric purposes. The principal feature used in this way is fingerprints, and the majority of the chapter focuses on the way in which fingermarks are deposited, visualised, and photographed in order to provide an image for comparison with fingerprints held on a database. A description is also given of the approach used by examiners when conducting a fingermark comparison in criminal identification, in particular focussing on the recent attention that has been given to the potential for contextual bias to influence decision making. Finally, an overview is given of the concept of a biometric system and the way in which biometrics such as fingerprints are enrolled onto databases. The way in which biometrics could impact on criminal investigations in future is described.

ID: 15401104