Centre for Sustainable Materials Processing

Visualising fingermarks with a Physical Developer technique

Physical Developer EventSupported and organised by the University of Leicester, the event specialised in the physical developer (PD) technique to visualise fingermarks. Representatives from 12 different police labs that service 18 different forces across the UK joined researchers from various institutions to discuss and learn about PD. 

The day began with talks from Professor Rob Hillman (University of Leicester), Chris Rawlinson (Lancashire Police) and Dr Tim Watkinson (Hampshire Police) about how the chemistry of PD works and the use of PD with the old formulation. After a coffee break, Emily Cartledge (DSTL) presented the research and optimisation of a new PD formulation, followed by Chris Rawlinson and Professor Rob Hillman discussing the practical issues and how to produce the best results using PD.  

The afternoon session began with a presentation from Dr Steve Bleay (London South Bank University) demonstrating the success of using PD on old documents, with fingermarks being identified on documents up to 80 years old. Chris Rawlinson then discussed the UKAS verification process and how labs could move over to the new formulation of PD. Dividing into small groups, delegates presented their opinions on draft ‘SOP’ and ‘Chemistry of PD’ documents and what resources would be helpful for labs and practitioners. The day ended with a talk from Dr Mariyam Ula (University of Leicester), looking forward to another technique that incorporates PD - multi metal deposition (MMD). 

This event was an excellent opportunity for practitioners and researchers to collaborate and discuss each others thoughts and needs, enabling more useful resources to be produced in the future. A special thank you goes to all the speakers on the day and to the delegates for enthusiastic participation. We are looking forward to the opportunity to be able to host more events like this in the future, maybe even incorporating practical demonstrations. 

Event organised by Professor Rob Hillman and Dr Mariyam Ula, account written by Chloe Davis (4th year PhD student). 

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