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Collaborative Practise in Forensic Science and Academia: The Development of a Documentation Strategy for Fingerprint Examinations in an English Fingerprint Bureau in the ISO 17025 era

FIELDHOUSE, Sarah, NEEDHAM, Megan, Morris, William and Nicholls, Gary (2022) Collaborative Practise in Forensic Science and Academia: The Development of a Documentation Strategy for Fingerprint Examinations in an English Fingerprint Bureau in the ISO 17025 era. Science and Justice, 62 (3). pp. 336-348. ISSN 1355-0306

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Abstract or description

The mandatory introduction of ISO 17025 accreditation to fingerprint comparisons forced changes to the documentation procedures. Academic and grey literature consistently suggest that the documentation should provide a sufficient auditable trail, yet there is some dissimilarity in the guidance relating to documentation content, and subjectivity with its interpretation. The accreditation body, UK Accreditation Service (UKAS), was not prescriptive in the methods required to produce working notes and were open to different practises, which has provided a useful opportunity to compare approaches to casework and to work with practitioners to inform effective practise.

The research team carried out a gap analysis between pre-accreditation operational documentation practise and an ACE-V checklist, which was a summary of best practise guidance on documentation content. A white box study included thirty-one fingerprint examiners from six institutions, who were asked to undertake an ‘Analysis’ of eight friction ridge impressions. Participants were asked to produce working notes using their pre-accreditation documentation approach and a piece of software called ‘PiAnoS’, which prompted mark annotation and an assessment of mark quality. The notes were compared to the ACE-V checklist to determine which of the documentary suggestions were considered to obtain an understanding of experts’ decision making. The results were used to develop a documentation strategy for an operational English fingerprint bureau, referred to as a “Mark Analysis Form”. It consisted of content from the ACE-V checklist, supported by literature, and which received high response rates from experts alongside discussions by the research team to determine its relevance in the documentation strategy. The strategy met with the ISO 17025 standard, evidenced by UKAS approval, and is currently used for casework.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Contemporaneous note; Fingerprint Examination; ACE-V; Documentation; ISO 17025; Identification
Faculty: School of Law, Policing and Forensics > Forensic Sciences and Policing
Depositing User: Sarah FIELDHOUSE
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2022 15:01
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2022 15:02
URI: http://eprints.staffs.ac.uk/id/eprint/7323

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