The Metropolitan Police Service

Identification using fingerprints is a fundamental tool in the fight against crime. The Fingerprint Bureau was established because fingerprints provide a reliable means of identifying people. The system is based on the fact that no two individuals have the same finger, palm or foot prints. These areas of the human body are covered by minute ridges which are frequently interrupted by endings and forks. These interruptions are known as characteristics. 2 Each person has a uniquely different distribution of characteristics.

The characteristics develop in the womb and persist throughout life. The ridges generally form well-defined patterns that can be used for searching, filing and identification purposes. "In 1996 the metropolitan police merged with The Forensic Science Service (FSS), it is an executive agency of the Home Office and has a world-wide reputation. Its purpose is to serve the administration of justice principally by offering scientific support in the investigation of crime and expert advice to the courts. "(Love)

The FSS works for forces in England and Wales, the Crown Prosecution Service, HM Customs and Excise, HM Coroners as well as the Ministry of Defence Police and British Transport Police. The FSS is independent from the police force but is still plays a massive and important role in the criminal justice system where it works with the defence as well as the prosecution. During 2001/2002, the FSS dealt with a record number of 135,000 with scientists appearing as expert witnesses in court on more than 2,938 occasions.

The FSS merging with the metropolitan science laboratory has help create a huge fingerprint database, which is supremely rated around the world. In this report I won't to show how the Metropolitan police science Laboratory merged with the FSS by using fingerprints past and present have helped the state and victim in fighting against the criminal. Fingerprinting 3 History of Fingerprinting Going back in the time of ancient Babylon, fingerprints and ridge patterns were used on clay tablets for business transactions and governmental procedures.

By the 14th century, the fact that no two prints were alike was becoming more noticeable, thus the history of the fingerprint began. Noting the ridges, spirals, and loops in fingerprints, Marcello Malpighi, a professor of anatomy at the University of Bologna, made no declaration to the value of personal identification, but began to point out the differences in fingerprint patterns in 1686. Then in 1823, a professor of anatomy at the University of Breslau, John Evangelist Purkinji, discussed nine fingerprint patterns in a published thesis, but still did not take notice to the individuality of each print.

It wasn't until 1856 that Englishman and Chief Magistrate, Sir William Hershel, used fingerprints on native documents. After gathering many prints, Hershel took notice to the fact that all the prints were unique and could prove identity from all those he had made transactions with. Dr. Henry Faulds, the British Surgeon-Superintendent of Tsukihi Hospital in Tokyo, Japan, shared his studies with Charles Darwin in 1880, but Darwin, who was rather ill at the time, could be of no service to Faulds studies. Eight years later, Sir Francis Galton, a British anthropologist (Darwin's cousin), began to study Faulds.

Galton began to concentrate on linking fingerprints to genetic history and intelligence, but had no luck. Scientifically proving that 4 fingerprints never changed during one's lifetime, Galton stated "that the odds of two prints to be exactly the same were 1 in 64 billion. " The first use of fingerprints as evidence in court On 27 June 1902 a house at Denmark Hill was burgled and some billiard balls stolen. The investigating officer noticed a number of dirty fingerprints on a newly painted windowsill at the point where the burglar had entered the house.

An officer from the Fingerprint Bureau visited the scene, examined the marks and decided that a left thumb made the clearest mark. Having checked that no member of the household had made the mark he photographed it. Returning to the Bureau a manual search was made of all criminals whose fingerprints were on record with a similar loop pattern on the left thumb. A match was made with the print of Harry Jackson, a 41 year old labourer. At the trial, the prosecution explained that although the case was ordinary it was the first time that the fingerprint would be used for connecting the accused with the crime scene.

Jackson was found guilty and sentenced to 7 years in prison. Fingerprints and their importance to the police. Fingerprints have many important uses for the police. By comparison with fingerprints on a named database, the identity of a person, and whether or not they have a criminal record, can be established. In urgent cases an identity can be confirmed within one hour. In court they can be used to prove the 5 presence of a suspect at a crime scene and depending on the position of the print can prove that the suspect committed the crime.

Fingerprints can also be used to eliminate a suspect, clearing them of suspicion. They persist throughout life without change and remain intact for some time after death, so along with dental records, they can be a sure method of identifying the deceased. At present fingerprinting is cheaper than DNA profiling and results can be turned around more quickly. Dr John Bond, Head of the Scientific Support Unit comments "Although established in the UK over 100 years, fingerprint evidence still plays a key role in detecting crime and confirming an offender's identity.

The metropolitan Police now have access to the National Automated Fingerprint Identification System (NAFIS) computer system which has streamlined greatly to the approach to searching finger marks recovered from crime scenes. " How do we get these marks on our fingers? The ridges, patterns and characteristics begin to form in the womb soon after conception. They are formed by skin growing at different rates and are fully formed by about six months of pregnancy. How do the police analyse fingerprints?

There are several basic types of pattern, for example loops or circular swirls, also the ridges may stop, branch into two or form other features. By this means an unknown mark can be compared to known prints and identity established. How long does the analysis take? 6 It can vary from a few seconds, to days, weeks, or even months, depending on the quality of the recovered print and the number of known prints against which it has to be compared How many fingerprints does the force take per year? The Metropolitan Police takes in the region of 15,000 sets of fingerprints each year

How are fingerprints removed for examination? Useful fingerprints can be left on many types of surface. Usually they are exposed by dusting with a light aluminium powder, after which they are lifted from the surface using a clear adhesive tape. The tape is then mounted onto clear plastic, sealing and preserving the print. Special staining techniques are used to reveal fingerprints on porous surfaces like paper, cardboard, or other difficult surfaces, the print is then photographed and analysed in the usual way

Finger Prints Convicted Jack the Ripper Detectives arrived on the scene after complaints of screaming heard by a neighbour down the street. Besides the blood painted walls and drenched sheets, there lay a lump of human parts on the bed. What they found was the body of a prostitute that had been bound and beheaded with her liver placed between her lacerated legs. Recognized to be human only by the eyes that were missing from her skull, she had fallen victim to psychotic eradicator.