back to article Scientists force confessions from mucky fingerprints

Wannabe criminals would do well to listen to their dear old ma's and wash their hands regularly, or PC Plod will be knocking on the door in double quick time*. According to boffins at London's Imperial College, minute traces of chemicals are left behind in our fingerprints that could be very useful to police trying to track …


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  1. Dillon Pyron


    Okay, ever heard of gloves? The smart cookies even double glove. Nowadays, nitril is all the rage in the US.

    With shows like CSI, juries are putting an unreasonable burden of proof on the prosecution for technical evidence. TV makes it look like a PM can be done in a day and DNA tests happen in a couple of hours. Most PMs take at least a week unless somebody REALLY rushes it. DNA tests can take up to a month or longer. And toxiology screening takes a minimum of 72 hours, assuming there's not a queue. AFIS can take as long as a week to run. But TV land solves crimes the same day.

    This fingerprint chemical analysis will probably have very limited usefullness. But somebody will get creamed.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ...require planning. Sure, if you know you're going to "do crime", they're a sensible thing to have along, but if it's a crime of opportunity or passion, you might not snap 'em on...

  3. Brian


    I agree that gloves require prior planning, how about a handkerchief, or a nice damp towel? I may not be able to help leaving fibers, but If I have any brains at all, I can identify all the surfaces I touched, and I bet lysol will remove all of those incriminating chemicals, or at least screw them up to the point of unusabiity.

  4. Stuart Halliday


    Just carry a spray of say 9% Hydrogen peroxide solution and spray on the surfaces you touch.

    This will kill any DNA and destroy the oils and will evaporate as water and oxygen.

    No evidence...;-)

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