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FIBRE TRANSFER AND PERSISTENCE STUDIES: ARE WE CONTAMINATING OUR SCENES OF CRIME SUITS?

GWINNETT, Claire and CASSELLA, John and Rogers, Daniel and Daal, Keanu and Nguyen, H and de Botselier, E and Rowland, C (2017) FIBRE TRANSFER AND PERSISTENCE STUDIES: ARE WE CONTAMINATING OUR SCENES OF CRIME SUITS? Forensic Science International, 277. pp. 1-257.

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Abstract or description

Scene of Crime Officer (SOCO) suits are now standard protection for major
scenes to prevent contamination from both DNA and trace particulates
but what if we are contaminating our suits prior to entering the crime
scene? This paper will outline a series of studies that have identified that
transfer of fibres from SOCO’s clothing to the outside of the suits occurs
during donning and that these subsequently persist long enough to enter
the scene of crime. Low, medium and high shed garments were analysed
in terms of their ability to transfer fibres to the outer surface of the crime
scene suit and therefore potentially contaminate any environment they
subsequently come in contact with. The subsequent persistence of
different fibre types on SOCO suit surfaces were identified to ascertain
the potential for these fibres to be carried into crime scenes and then
redistributed within the scene. Contamination ‘hot-spots’ on the crime
scene suits were also identified. Results indicate that considerable fibre
contamination can occur whilst crime scene suits are being donned
and this is dependent on the sheddability of the garments being worn
underneath (mean number of fibres transferred were 225 (low shed), 340
(medium shed) and 437 (high shed)). Persistence of different fibres on
SOCO suits indicated that fibres were retained for long enough to be taken
into a crime scene and shed when undertaking common movements/
activities of Scenes of Crime Officers thus highlighting the potential for
scene contamination. This paper will also outline a series of solutions
to this potential contamination that could be utilized in serious crime
investigations where fibres evidence are readily utilized, including the
development of a SOCO undersuit that reduces fibre contamination and
appears to have additional benefits including an increase in wearer comfort
and a perceived improvement in wearer temperature regulation.
Disclosure: All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.

Item Type: Article
Faculty: School of Law, Policing and Forensics > Criminal Justice and Forensic Science
Depositing User: John CASSELLA
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2017 13:55
Last Modified: 30 Sep 2017 14:55
URI: http://eprints.staffs.ac.uk/id/eprint/3790

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