King’s Forensics has undertaken research on the visualisation of fingermarks on items pertinent to wildlife trafficking (e.g. pangolin scales, ivory, rhino horns etc.). However, there is a need to conduct additional studies to evaluate the appropriateness of conventional detection processes (i.e. fluorescent fingermark powders, chemical treatments, physical enhancement processes) as well as the potential of innovative methods (i.e. biosensors) to enhance fingermarks present on challenging wildlife crime samples. Moreover, much of the existing research in this area involves the investigation of fingermark development on freshly made prints under ideal laboratory conditions. For these techniques to be deployed operationally, fingermarks made under varying environmental conditions (different ages, temperatures, contaminants, etc.) need to be evaluated and a suitable imaging system, capable of detecting evidence across a wide surface area, identified.
Little attention has been given to the development and/or validation of methods for the visualisation of evidence on objects relevant to the trafficking of endangered species (such as pangolin scales, ivory and animal skins/furs and eggs). This work is part of a joint initiative with the City of London Police Forensic Service Directorate’s Fingerprint Laboratory who provides access to traditional enhancement methods used in casework and to forensic imaging systems capable of imaging large surfaces under UV, visible and IR light.