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Advances in fingerprint identification

Publication date: Mar 07, 2011 11:36 AM

Start: Oct 27, 2010 11:00 AM
End: Oct 27, 2010 12:00 PM

Location: Brook House

Speaker: Dr Mandeep Dhami, Resilience and Security, dstl-MoD Defense Science Technology Lab
Audience: SECReT students

Dr Mandeep Dhami from the Resilience and Security team at dstl, the UK Ministry of Defence’s science technology laboratory, and a senior lecturer at Institute of Criminology at the University of Cambridge described her work on the Effects of Mark Type and Quality on Fingerprint Identification.

She discussed recorded evidence of error in fingerprint identification (eg. FBI false positive identification of Madrid train bomber) and how the reliability of fingerprint identification often involves calculating experts’ scores on proficiency tests. The research aimed to determine what the effects of mark type and quality are on fingerprint examiners’ (i) judgments of the number of matching characteristics (ii) ability to establish a positive identification (iii) willingness to present a positive identification as evidence in court.

The results of the research indicated that both mark type and quality had a predictable and measurable effect on examiners’ ability to judge the number of matching characteristics, make a positive identification, and take the mark to court. Results also indicated that performance declines with decline in mark quality and that performance was poorest on marks with rotational movement. Dr Dhami concluded by suggesting that these results imply that fingerprint examiners should be exposed to, and trained to deal with different types of marks and marks with varying levels of quality.