A collaboration between the Home Office, Dstl, Loughborough University, Ploughshare, and Foster+Freeman has delivered a unique solution to assist with national and international law enforcement and security. Forensics teams globally will benefit from the ability to recover fingerprints from “impossible” surfaces, in turn resulting in more criminals facing justice.
Fingerprint technology that can recover fingermarks from ‘impossible’ surfaces
Greater conviction rates
Fewer criminals on the streets
Peace of mind for families of victims of crime
Whether it’s used on a foreign battlefield or a British crime scene, this pioneering fingerprint technology will make it much harder for criminals to escape justice.
Harriett Baldwin MP,
former Minister for Defence Procurement
Aware that other academics had been investigating new techniques to develop fingerprints they realised there might be interest in this new method but were unaware at this point just how groundbreaking their discovery was.
Their discovery means fingerprints can now be recovered from surfaces that were previously extremely challenging or impossible to work with. This includes items exposed to high temperatures, including Improvised Explosive Device (IED) components and used ammunition cases as well as metal items that have been deliberately cleaned, such as knives. The new technique can help identify those responsible for IED attacks, or in domestic crime scenes, where around 80% of knife crimes in the UK go unsolved.
The early development of LFT was a collaboration between Loughborough University, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), and the Home Office Centre for Applied Science and Technology (CAST) – now part of Dstl. Together, over eight years, their combined efforts turned the LFT technology into a viable demonstrator.
To turn the successful laboratory demonstrator into a commercially available product, however, required the expertise of an industry partner. In 2017 Ploughshare signed a deal with Foster+Freeman to grant them access to the technology. As a leading forensic science equipment supplier to more than 150 countries, they were an ideal partner to take LFT and turn it into a successful product.
LFT is a fantastic example of collaborative working between academia, government and industry to develop an innovation that will help the police and security services to identify criminals and link them to their crimes.
LFT is a fuming process. A pre-cursor powder is heated and then allowed to degrade into a crystallised form in a chamber containing the object under analysis. This crystallised form is then re-evaporated, creating fumes around the object which then condense to develop fingerprints on the sample.
Unlike other techniques, LFT does not require the presence of sweat or naturally occurring skin oils to develop a fingerprint. Its unique chemical vapour process reveals fingerprints that would previously have been deemed impossible, making it of immense benefit to investigators seeking to review both new and cold case evidence.
Innovation source: Loughborough University/Dstl
Licensed to: Foster + Freeman
Applications: Forensic evidence collection
End user: Governments, Police
Discovered by scientists at Loughborough University
Licensed to Foster+Freeman
RECOVER LFT product enters market
Registered in England and Wales No. 04401901
© Ploughshare Innovations Ltd 2021