Supporting collaboration, knowledge sharing and delivery of research across the domain of marks, traces & particulates.

Key themes across all research groups identified included.

  • Foundational Science Research (underpin Forensic applications,)
  • Effectiveness studies on large scale across institution (best methods)
  • Education of the current Science and Technology
  • Standardisation of data sets (comparison)
  • Initialise a data repository access (across disciplines)
  • Identify new technologies across sectors that could apply to forensic environments (Horizon scanning)

Key objectives

  • Improve operational effectiveness through improved information sharing, cross-border and cross-organisational collaboration in research, linking the wider forensic community to research areas outside of the discipline.
  • Enable areas of specific research strength to work together.
  • Support and contribute to the FCN Research and Development Strategy.
  • Encourage and coordinate research salient to operational requirement.
  • Support project coordination and idea development in collaboration with FCN Quality validation requirements.
  •  Improving the transition from research concept to market and / or operational implementation
  • Opportunities to seek collaborative research funding bids.
  • Assure student and post graduate research is shared via the COP repository
  • Disseminate research via the FCN Newsletter (keeping the forensic communities updated), or annual events, webinars, symposiums etc.
  • Engagement with both national and international forensic specialists.

Group Chair: Dr Carolyn Lovell

Carolyn has significant experience working within operational police forensic units. Predominantly within crime scene investigation. Carolyn has had a varied career since joining the police in 1995, from fingerprint enhancement, DVI, crime scene management and coordination, and previous to joining the FCN had been part of the senior leadership team within a local police forensic service. Carolyn has a master’s in forensic Archaeology and has recently completed her Doctorate focused on the investigation of sexual offences. Carolyn is an honorary lecturer at the University of Portsmouth and supports and supervise student research.

Suggested areas for research which have been collated via FSR, Practitioner/academic engagement.

  • Recording of marks on blood in a reliable manner
  • Review of light source and imaging applications across crime scene investigation and other police/forensic specialist services
  • Assessment of skills and capabilities across CSI applications a review
  • Empirical study and use of gel lifts across broader evidence types
  • Develop gel lifts for very high & low temperatures for mark recovery
  • Combined methods of forensic trace recovery
  • Applications of machine learning and AI technology for the search and review of trace/marks
  • Review of current and emerging technologies for marks on knives/cartridge cases, what is the optimum? What gaps remain?
  • Development of tools for scene scan and trace assessment
  • Transfer and persistence studies ref Marks and traces
  • Use of detection dogs and secondary transfer
  • Developing the predictive model for fibre analysis
  • Applications of science and technology to aid the prevention of crime
  • Fingerprint recovery from biodegradable and degradable substrates
  • Fingerprint recovery from polymer bank notes
  • Fingerprint recovery from challenging surfaces (e.g., Metal)
  • Impact on corrosive substances on surfaces, pattern development, fingerprint visualisation
  • Identification of new chemicals/solutions for the enhancement of fingerprints
  • Development of in scene technology for search, enhance, and transfer of marks/trace for swift analysis
  • Development of new sustainable resources for the recovery and retention of evidence types.
  • Review - assessment of current and emerging footwear recovery methodologies/applications what is optimum.
  • A national review of forensic awareness training within policing, gaps, requirements.
  • Obtaining fingerprint/hand identification from digital images
  • False matches in Fingerprints – what is the reality
  • Bias, blind verification, sequential unmasking fingerprint identifications – influence of human factors
  • Discriminatory strengths of fingerprint characteristics
  • Evidential significance of fingerprint characteristics
  • Permanence of ridge detail
  • Operational impact of newly introduced technologies realising the benefits and opportunities.
  • Activity level propositions for marks/traces
  • Development of statistical models and likelihood ratios for fingerprints.
  • Alternative powders/processes for fingerprint recovery
  • Digital capture and transmission of fingerprints, assessment, opportunities/technologies
  • Opportunities for predicative technologies linked to emerging crime trends & exploration of future forensic applications
  • Automated technologies for the collection and analysis of evidence
  • Automation of work flows
  • Understanding bias in interpretation within forensic services
  • Communication and presentation of evidence within the court room environment (meaning, interpretation & evaluation) of scientific evidence in understandable ways for the non-scientist. To support emergence of current and emerging visual technologies and transformation of the court processes.
  • Use of virtual and augmented reality for forensic practice
  • Sustainability of forensic tools/technology, access for all
  • Development of sustainable products (reducing plastic waste) as well as meeting CJS requirements
  • Forensic intelligence value of in support of investigations, gaps and opportunities


Minutes & key documents

Minutes for these meetings can be accessed via the Knowledge Hub (FCN Physical Science Research Working Group).

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