So I want to give you guys a bit more knowledge as to what you would be studying if you were to take any of the forensics degrees (and Police Science) at the University of Glamorgan. If there is anything in particular you would like me to cover then get in touch and I will see what I can do.
The best module so far whilst studying Forensic Biology here at Glamorgan Uni has to be ‘Criminalistics’ studied within the first year. This is basically learning everything carried out at crime scenes and is 100% practically assessed. The course outline is divided into 1 hour lectures each week where you learn the theory-side of things and a two hour practical slot.
My favourite part of this module was learning about recovering fingerprints and learning the identifying features when it comes to comparing multiple prints. First we looked at dusting and lifting fingerprints from various surfaces, producing our own fingerprints using various different powders and brushes, such as magnetic (aluminium) and fluorescent powders, and squirrel hair and magnetic brushes. We dusted our prints to make clearer, lifted them using acetate and transferred them to a sheet of clear plastic.
In the next session we learnt about how to chemically develop fingerprints using different chemicals to produce fingerprints on different materials. The different chemicals used were gentian violet, iodine and super glue to name but a few and the various materials used were cardboard, black plastic, tin foil, paper, and a few others that I can’t remember. The objective was to see which chemical would develop latent fingerprints better on which material.
Finally we learnt about the different identifying features a fingerprint has to help in confirming whether or not two or more prints match. You have the ‘core’ details of a fingerprint known as the whorls, arches and loops which are not really used in fingerprint analysis as many people have these print traits; then there are the unique characteristics which include islands, crossovers, and bifurcation and ridge endings. We then had a go at looking at some of our prints with magnifying glasses to identify some of these features.
All-in-all, I really enjoyed learning about fingerprint development, it is really interesting how we are all unique with no two same prints and how we can use so many different methods to retrieve latent prints from scenes.
Until next time.