When it comes to police work and movies that depict police work, fingerprints are probably the second most inaccurately depicted realm of police work.

According to many TV shows all that is needed to solve a crime is a fingerprint which is then “run through the computer” (you know that computer that will answer any police question you can think of). If only it were that easy. Although many states are now running AFIS systems (Automated Fingerprint Identification System) which do make it possible to “run a print” by and large you just about need a suspect to compare the prints to. To run every single print obtained from every single crime scene through an AFIS system would be a monumental task.

This section covers various aspects related to fingerprint development, classification and identification, but please bear in mind, this subject is far from what you may have imagined. The people who are classified as experts in this field, have spent many years learning their craft, years of study at University’s both here and overseas, and who hold Degrees in this field.
The following pages in this section are very basic due to the complex nature of the subject, but I hope that after you read them, you will have a better understanding of just how much is involved in the art of fingerprints and the science involved with it.
Each section contains some graphical references for a better understanding of some of the requirements for classification.

Fingerprint Index

History of Fingerprinting
Fingerprint Identification in Australia

Friction Ridge Skin
Introduction – Classification & Identification
Fingerprint Pattern Classification
Fingerprint Patterns
Fingerprint Identification
Latent Fingerprints
Techniques for Fingerprint Detection & Enhancement – Introduction
Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS)
The CrimTrac’s Agency – Livescan
Abbreviations used in fingerprinting