Dr Simona Francese from the Biomolecular Sciences Research Centre has been speaking about a ground-breaking fingerprint profiling method, developed at Sheffield Hallam, which can provide an in-depth analysis of fingerprints at crime scenes. The technique uses a form of mass spectromerty to detect traces of various substances within a fingerprint. The pioneering technology has been on trial with West Yorkshire Police which saw it successfully implemented during an investigation into a case of harassment. The technology can test for traces of drugs, blood, hair and other molecules to provide a bigger picture of the criminal and assist the case. The sophisticated technology can also detect whether the suspect had handled a condom, what gender they are and what food that had eaten. Project lead Dr Simona Francese said the technology had been used to detect blood in a 30-year-old print, meaning it could be used in cold case reviews. The Home Office has invested funding in the project and it could soon be admissible in court and researchers hope to see the technology be used in high-profile cases.
Dr Francese appeared live on BBC Breakfast (with the interview at around 8.10am), she was also interviewed on Radio 4’s Today Programme (listen again from 02:56:37), Radio 5 Live (listen again from 00:54:57), BBC World Service and regional BBC radio stations across the country. It also is the most-read story on the BBC website and you can read more on our media centre.