Impressions – A Dactylography Workshop

Fingerprints are one of the most unique things a human possesses. They are different in each individual and confer a distinctive identity to a person. Anybody who is a fan of detective TV series will agree that fingerprints are the most useful tools in identifying a person or eliminating a suspect. But how is this process exactly done?

To answer this question and provide students with a basic knowledge of the procedure of fingerprinting, Justitia – the forensic science society of KMC Manipal organised a workshop on 11th May 2017. Aptly named Impressions, the hour-long workshop was conducted by the ‘Forensis’ Team from the Department of Forensic Science and Criminology of the School of Social Work, Mangalore.

The team introduced the students to different patterns and subtypes of fingerprints. They spoke about ridges and valleys – the elevations and depressions in the skin forming these patterns and their characteristics, which help distinguish one print from another.

The most interesting part of the afternoon however, was the demonstration of the procedure of fingerprinting – which allowed students to get a hands-on experience of fingerprinting. The demonstration was divided into two parts – fingerprinting of a suspect and preservation of latent fingerprints.

The suspect fingerprinting part was devoted to how a suspect’s fingerprints are recorded in order to match the ones picked up from a crime scene. This is done by the traditional Printer’s Ink method or the modern Compact method.

The other part was devoted to showing how prints are collected from objects by dusting them with a contrast coloured powder (Black for white objects, Grey for glass and Fluorescent for coloured) and using tape to lift them off.

It was a very informative afternoon, thoroughly enjoyed by students, who completely utilized this opportunity to get a closer glimpse into the world of Dactylography.

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