Theory & Practical

Duration: 60 Minutes

Fingerprints Theory and Practical

In the theory section, we will cover the history of fingerprints, different types of fingerprint patterns, ridge characteristics and how identifications are made with the aid of powerpoint and photographs.

We also include Palm Prints and Ear Prints outlining real life cases where this evidence was used to convict.

In the practical section, we ask the students to take each other’s fingerprints. We will supply and explain the use of all of the necessary equipment to carry out this task.

Each student will be given a ‘CSI - The Experience’ key ring where they can insert their own fingerprint and take with them as a reminder of the day.

The students are then supplied with fingerprint magnetic powder and magnetic brushes and are shown how to develop finger-marks from items such as bottles, cans, paper etc. Normally 1 brush and powder is shared between 2 students. In the process of developing the finger-marks, they are also shown how to lift the developed finger mark from surfaces with specific fingerprint lifting tape (supplied) and how these are placed on cards as carried out in real life CSI work.

Fingerprinting facts

  • No two fingerprints are identical.

  • All of your own fingerprints are different. Even identical twins, who share the same DNA, have different fingerprints.

  • Fingerprints can be made by palms of hands, fingertips, soles of feet and surfaces of toes.

  • Fingerprints are caused by sweat and are detected by the forensic scientist (in conjunction with CSI investigators) using dyes, chemicals or lasers.

  • Fingerprinting is the most widely used forensic technique today.

  • Fingerprints can be used to replace passwords, ID cards and other methods for limiting access to buildings, computers etc.

  • Romans used branding and amputation to identify criminals.

  • Later, visual identification using memory and photography was used.

  • In the late 19th century a Frenchman called Bertillon used a system of measurements of parts of the body to identify people.

  • In 1900, fingerprints began to be used to identify people.

[Source: Dublin City University (]

More information on Fingerprints is available on the link below