Defence Science and Technology Laboratory
Printable version

World-renowned forensics manual released openly

The second edition of the Fingermark Visualisation Manual will help forensic practitioners maximise fingermark recovery and aid criminal investigations.

The Fingermark Visualisation Manual (FVM) has been updated by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) on behalf of the Home Office, and for the first time is being published on the UK Government’s website to enable free and open access for the global forensic community, including academia and industry.

In a world of rapidly evolving crime types and emerging forensic science disciplines, the visualisation and identification of fingermarks remains essential to the recovery of key evidence from crime scenes.

The updated manual contains a wealth of new material and provides law enforcement forensic practitioners with the critical information needed to maximise fingermark recovery to aid criminal investigations.

The key changes included in the FVM Second Edition are:

  • new technical developments such as the use of Indandione, Longwave Ultraviolet (UVA) Reflection and MALDI-MS, reflected in updates to charts and processes
  • updated best practice guidance
  • updated health and safety information
  • improvements to the layout and text

Supporting standards and accreditation

Accreditation to the ISO 17025 standard is now well established within fingerprint laboratories, whilst crime scene activities (including fingermark recovery) are now required to be accredited to the ISO 17020 standard.

Although the FVM is not a guide to accreditation, it does align with its aims and supports organisations pursuing and maintaining the required standards.

It continues to provide comprehensive information and guidance to assist with effective fingermark visualisation, starting at the basics and moving through to complex situations and advanced methods.

A First to Second Edition Technical Changes document has been published alongside the FVM to support accreditation requirements by providing an audit log of the revised content.

Rich basis in research and development

The information within the FVM is underpinned by decades of Home Office funded research and development conducted by the authors with the support from, and collaborations with, UK and international colleagues.

The updated Fingermark Visualisation Source Book (v3.0) published alongside the updated manual includes details of the scientific theory behind each process, validation work conducted by the authors prior to operational implementation and the supporting literature.

Through publishing the FVM and its associated material on GOV.UK, it will continue to promote the UK as a world-leader in forensic science and supports the ambition to make scientific research and its dissemination more open and accessible, with benefits for authors, researchers, funding bodies and the wider education sector.

Gary Pugh OBE, Forensic Science Regulator, said:

The UK Fingermark Visualisation Manual is renowned around the world as a leading source of knowledge of the underpinning science and practical guidance on the development of fingerprint ridge detail in the investigation of crime and the administration of justice.

Since the publication of the First Edition in 2014 the scientists who contributed to the First Edition and to this Edition have provided invaluable and crucial advice to the organisations who undertake fingermark visualisation. This support is critical to gaining accreditation to accepted international standards and compliance with the Forensic Science Regulator’s Codes of Practice and Conduct.

Channel website: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/defence-science-and-technology-laboratory

Original article link: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/world-renowned-forensics-manual-released-openly

Share this article

Latest News from
Defence Science and Technology Laboratory

Facing the Future...find out more