What are fingerprints?Fingerprints are friction ridge skin that are found on thepalms of our hands and the soles of our feet. They form before birth on thedeveloping fingers of a baby in the womb due to pressure and are influenced bya number of events, because of this each and every fingerprint is unique. Thefriction ridge skin is used to enhance our grip and handle objects moresecurely. Fingerprints have been used as a method of identificationfor thousands of years, as a method of signing contracts in ancient China.
However, using fingerprints as a way to identify criminals did not make anappearance till 1880. As of now, fingerprinting is now one form of biometrics. Due to being unique, fingerprints have a number of differentuses, some of these include:· Establishing the identity of someone/or corpse. · Establishing someone who was present at a crimescene. · Linking recovered stolen property to a victim.· Connecting an individual to an object known tohave committed an offence, for example a firearm. Using fingerprints as a source of evidence is veryimportant, this is because people can be convicted, freed or cleared on thebasis of this evidence alone.
Fingerprint classification was first introduced to the UK in1901 and has since, stayed relatively the same. The first level of detail involves looking at the macroscopic elementsof the fingerprint where we identify the Cores and Deltas of the print. Fingerprints are classified into three types of patterns; Loops – This is where the ridges of the print start on oneside of the finger and then curve around or upwards through the core and delta,and exit the same side. Arches – This is where one side of the ridges of thefingerprint slope upwards and then slope downwards before exiting on the otherside from where it started.
Whorls – This is where some of the ridges go through a fullcircle. A fingerprint that also has two or more deltas are also classified as awhorl. As friction ridges skin is used to enhance our grip, they donot run smooth across our fingers, toes, hands and feet. Instead they display anumber of characteristics known as minutiae:Cross over bridge – a short ridge which runs between twoparallel ridges. Bifurcation –a single ridge that has split into two spate ridges.Lake – a single ridge that bifurcates and then re-joins tocontinue the single ridge. Spur – a bifurcation that has a short ridge branching off alonger ridge.
Dot – an independent ridge that has approximately the samelength and width.