In recent years, the use of gunshot residue has decreased in criminal investigations due to the increase use of DNA evidence and the lack of understanding into its behaviour. Therefore, my research project is focusing on analysing the distribution of gunshot residue (GSR) on clothing of witnesses in addition to developing new approaches to the identification and classification of GSR from forensic samples. Experimental studies will be undertaken to reflect forensic reality that address different scenarios and the external variables pertinent to those scenarios to determine their effect on the transfer and distribution of GSR. Samples will be taken from the clothing after shootings and analysed on the SEM/EDX, which is the standard instrument in forensic laboratories used to confirm the presence of GSR. However, the SEM/EDX has shown to be time consuming and expensive whereas other techniques have shown potential to be more time- and cost-efficient such as Infrared spectroscopy and X-ray Fluorescence. These instruments will assist with the detection and confirmation of the presence of GSR. Additionally, this would increase the specificity of the detection of GSR and decrease the degree of uncertainty in the results. This project would be beneficial for the forensic community as it can provide research into analysis protocols for GSR. If a clear distribution pattern is determined from this project then this methodology would be valuable for the crime reconstruction process, and the effective interpretation of GSR particulates in particular contexts. Additionally, the research will help improve sampling protocols that are currently employed for GSR testing.
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