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FBI notifies crime labs of errors

Published: Jun 15, 2015 9:03:22 AM

Fingerprinting - the UK Landscape

Published: May 8, 2015 2:31:34 PM

Flaws in forensic hair analysis

Published: Apr 24, 2015 3:54:32 PM

Kelly Cheshire

PhD Student

UCL Department of Geography, Pearson Building, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, UK
UCL Department of Security and Crime Science,
35 Tavistock Square, London,

Kelly Cheshire

Current Research

Soil and sediments are a form of trace evidence that can provide valuable insight into an investigation regarding the potential provenance or whether a place or person of interest may be excluded from an investigation. The physical techniques for assessing this form of evidence has been documented thoroughly in the literature however chemical analysis still requires more attention. Chemical analysis is desirable due its ability to be automated, speed and allows for simultaneous qualitative and quantitative analysis of major and trace elements. This research aims to address the issues associated with the geochemical analysis of soil and sediment evidence that are of mixed provenance and from discrete locations. ICP-MS and ICP-AES will be the main focus of the research as they require a minimal amount of material to conduct the analysis (0.1 g) which is essential when working within the forensic domain. Other techniques used will include XRF, in order to compare accuracy between methods and IRMS to establish if isotopes have the potential to discriminate between locations that are of close proximity to one another. There is currently no internationally accepted protocol for the analysis of soils and sediments within forensic laboratories therefore this project will also look to establish a protocol for the collection, storage and preparation of samples as these can all have an effect on the results obtained from analysis. It is hoped that by deriving a way to obtain accurate geochemical signatures for samples, that this information can be used in conjunction with other forms of independent analysis in order to give a meaningful and reliable interpretation of the evidence for use in a court of law. 

Conference Presentations

Spring Conference - "Document Examination: More than just handwriting analysis", Menzies Strathallan Hotel, Birmingham, 4th April 2011. 

7th Security Research Conference, Future Security, Bonn, Germany, 4-6th September 2012. Forensics Europe Expo and Counter Terrorism Expo, London, April 24-25th 2013. 

7th International Crime Science Conference, London, 16th July 2013. Crimetime Conference - "Advances in Temporal Forensic Investigations". 3M Buckley Innovation Centre, University of Huddersfield. 

4-5th November 2013. (Presented at) AAFS 66th Annual Scientific Meeting — Seattle, WA 2014. 17th - 22nd February 2014.

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