UK Ministry of Defence develops new chemical to reveal fingerprints on challenging surfaces

The UK government has announced the development of a chemical for use recovering fingerprints from previously challenging or impossible surfaces. The advanced fingerprint visualization technology makes it possible to acquire prints from items exposed to high temperatures, such as IED components or fired ammunition cases, and cleaned metal items, according to the announcement.

The technology was jointly developed by the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), the Centre for Applied Science and Technology (CAST) and Loughborough University, where it was inadvertently discovered by Dr. Paul Kelly.

“British innovation is progressing at a rapid pace and we are investing millions in it to keep our country safe,” said UK Defence Minister Harriet Baldwin. “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 will be refined by forensic science equipment supplier Foster + Freeman, which has acquired the license to commercialize it.

As previously reported, in August the Biometrics and Forensics Ethics Group (BFEG) replaced the UK’s National DNA Database Ethics Group to examine and advise on ethical issues around all forensic identification techniques including the use biometrics such as facial recognition and fingerprinting.

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