Dr Sarah Fieldhouse

Associate Professor

Health, Education, Policing and Sciences

I joined Staffordshire University in 2000 as an undergraduate student, studying for an honours degree in Criminology and Forensic Science. In 2003 I was awarded a scholarship to undertake PhD research relating to consistency and reproducibility in the deposition and evaluation of latent fingermarks, and an investigation into the effectiveness of a portable cyanoacrylate fuming system and aluminium powder for latent fingermark development.

My PhD was awarded by Staffordshire University in 2009, where I also obtained a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher and Professional Education and Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. This supported a transition from a researcher into my current academic post, where I proudly contribute to the Criminal Justice and Forensic Science team.

Professional memberships and activities

  • Affiliate of the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences

Academic qualifications

  • PhD (Forensic Science area)
  • BSc Criminology and Forensic Science, first class honours degree
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Higher and Professional Education
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Research Methods


My expertise is within fingerprints and their use as forensic evidence. I have provided advice to fingerprint laboratories about the recovery of marks from problematic surfaces and have provided expert witness in court.

Research interests

I have extended my PhD research into the design of proficiency tests for assessors of fingermark quality and the commercial manufacture of devices to control the deposition of fingermarks for research projects, known as fingerprint samplers.

I have supervised PhD research to completion in collaboration with staff from the UK Home Office to investigate the interaction of iron oxide wet powder suspension with latent fingermarks. I currently supervise PhD research into the dual recovery of DNA and fingermarks from crime scenes and effective documentation strategies for fingerprint examinations, in collaboration with several UK fingerprint bureaux. On account of my research expertise, I am the current Associate Editor of Science and Justice, the peer reviewed journal of the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.

  • Alternative research has examined the use of 360° photography for the recording of crime scenes, which has contributed to another successful PhD completion. This research with SpheronVR (www.spheron.com) has demonstrated that it is possible to combine high intensity light sources with 360° photography for the detection of biological fluids at crime scenes, which has attracted further collaborative research opportunities within Sexual Assault Referral Centres and with Coppertree Forensics (https://coppertreeforensics.co.uk/) for the detection of biological fluid contamination. This research has contributed to several peer reviewed publications and presentations. More recently, this technology has been implemented in some of Staffordshire’s pottery kilns, as part of the Heritage Action Zone project (Historic England) (https://historicengland.org.uk/services-skills/heritage-action-zones/stoke-on-trent-ceramic/).

  • As a member of the Staffordshire Forensic Partnership, I have facilitated several projects to support validation and verification studies of Staffordshire Police, relating to the recovery of fingermarks from crime scenes. I recently (2019) received Home Office funding to conduct research for the Transforming Forensics Digital project, examining the impact of digital forensic analysis on criminal justice outcomes.



I mainly teach students at undergraduate and postgraduate level about fingerprints, which includes the foetal development of friction ridge skin, techniques used to recover fingermarks from scenes of crime and the use of friction ridge skin for human identification purposes and as a type of forensic evidence. I also deliver tuition relating to the statistical interpretation of data.


  • Cerium(III) and cerium(IV) nitrate complexes of trialkylphosphine oxides.Polyhedron, 161. pp. 346-351. ISSN 0277-5387 Coles, Simon, Fieldhouse, Sarah, Klooster, Wim and Platt, Andy (2019)
  • Simultaneous detection and image capture of biological evidence using a combined 360° camera system with single wavelength laser illumination. (2018) Science & Justice. ISSN 13550306 Sheppard, Kayleigh, Fieldhouse, Sarah and Cassella, John
  • The adaptation of a 360° camera utilising an alternate light source (ALS) for the detection of biological fluids at crime scenes, Apr 14, 2017, Science and Justice. Sheppard, K., Fieldhouse, S., Cassella, J.
  • A comparative study of photogrammetric methods using panoramic photography in a forensic context, Feb 4, 2017, Forensic Science International. Sheppard, K., Fieldhouse, S., Cassella, J.
  • The effect of DNA recovery on the subsequent quality of latent fingermarks, Aug 10, 2016, Forensic Science International. Fieldhouse, S., Oravcova, E., Walton, L.
  • The design and implementation of a proficiency test for assessors of fingermark quality, Feb 10, 2016, Science and Justice. Fieldhouse, S., Gwinnett, C.
  • An Investigation into the Effects of Force Applied During Deposition on Latent Fingermarks and Inked Fingerprints Using a Variable Force Fingerprint Sampler, Mar 17, 2014, Journal of Forensic Sciences. Fieldhouse, S.
  • Consistency and reproducibility in fingermark deposition, Oct 13, 2011, Forensic Science International. Fieldhouse, S.
  • An Investigation into the Use of a Portable Cyanoacrylate Fuming System (SUPERfume) and Aluminium Powder for the Development of Latent Fingermarks, Oct 3, 2010, Journal of Forensic Sciences. Fieldhouse, S.
  • Determination of the sequence of latent fingermarks and writing or printing on white office paper, Aug 30, 2010, Forensic Science International. Kalantzis, N., Fieldhouse, S., Platt, A.

External profiles

in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021