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Criminalistic Methods Laboratory

A fully equipped laboratory to facilitate the analysis of evidence recovered from crime scenes.

The types of recovered evidence are many and varied. The majority of analysis techniques are non-destructive and some examples are given below:


  • Fingerprints – A full range of equipment is available to visualise, record, and compare latent fingerprints. As well as chemical reagents there is equipment for superglue fuming, humidity treatment and specialist light sources for visualisation of fluorescent dyed fingerprints.
  • Questioned documents – Electrostatic Document Analysers (ESDA) are available for visualisation of indented writing. Video Spectral Comparators (VSC) and Raman spectral comparators are available for ink comparison to check for alteration of documents. VSC is also useful for checking security features on banknotes and other documents.
  • Illicit substances – A range of reagents is available for indicative testing of drugs. Fourier Transform Infra-red spectroscopy (FTIR) and Raman spectroscopy are available to assist in identification.
  • Glass – Two high power microscopes equipped with video cameras and warming stages to allow measurement of the refractive index of glass, for comparison with that of a control sample.
  • Footwear – Equipment is available to allow “plaster” casting of footwear impressions found at a crime scene. Control prints of a piece of footwear can be taken using an inkless system to allow comparison with the cast. Electrostatic Lifting Apparatus (ESLA) is also available to allow dusty footwear marks to be lifted from hard surfaces and preserved.
  • Toolmark impressions – casting silicone is available to take impressions of marks left by tools. These can then be compared to control marks made by suspected tools in a soft material such as lead. The impression can be compared using a macro comparison microscope system. This system is also useful for the comparison of cartridge cases from firearms.
  • Hairs and fibres – There is a high power comparison microscope system available for comparison of trace evidence such as hairs and fibres. Also available for these types of evidence is a FTIR microscope which allows the recording of the infra-red spectra of such trace evidence.



  • Thermo-Nicolet iS10 FTIR spectrometer coupled to a Centaurus microscope.
  • Renishaw inVia twin laser Raman microscope system.
  • Foster and Freeman Foram 685-2 Raman spectral comparator.
  • Foster and Freeman ESDA system.
  • Foster and Freeman ESDA-Lite.
  • Foster and Freeman VSC4C video spectral comparator.
  • Foster and Freeman VSC4+ video spectral comparator.
  • Leeds Forensic LCF comparison microscope system.
  • Leeds Forensic LCT comparison microscope system.
  • Nikon LV100POL microscope with camera and warming stage.
  • Nikon LV400POL microscope with camera and warming stage.
  • Mason Vactron MVC3000 superglue fuming cabinet.
  • Foster and Freeman SUPERfume portable superglue fuming equipment.
  • Sanyo-Gallenkamp humidity oven for Ninhydrin/DFO development.
  • Memmert oven for DFO development.
  • Pathfinder portable ESLA. × 3
  • Fluoroscope.


Photo of Criminalistic Methods Laboratory