Journal Article

A Forensic Geoscience Framework and Practice

Ruth M. Morgan, Emma Allen, Zara L. Lightowler, Jeanne Freudiger-Bonzon and Peter A. Bull

in Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice

Volume 2, issue 2, pages 185-195
Published in print January 2008 | ISSN: 1752-4512
Published online January 2008 | e-ISSN: 1752-4520 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/police/pan021
A Forensic Geoscience Framework and Practice

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Appropriate and correct collection, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of geoforensic evidence are contingent upon understanding the specific context of the particular forensic investigation undertaken. To achieve this, the role of experimental studies in forensic geoscience must not be underestimated. In this article, we present two experimental studies that assess the spatial distribution of pollen in a living room and the nature of subsequent transfer of pollen onto clothing. The presence of cut flowers in a living room are shown to lead to a distribution of pollen grains onto all types of surface in that room that exhibits a distance–decay pattern with the greatest numbers of grains found in close proximity to the flowers. Once the transfer of pollen grains from a source location onto clothing has taken place, our second study demonstrates the nature of the persistence of that evidence for dry and damp clothing under active and inactive conditions. The level of activity after transfer is shown to have far more influence upon the persistence of this form of geoforensic evidence in comparison to the damp or dry conditions of the garment. We argue that these findings have implications for all stages of the forensic investigation–from sampling protocols to the interpretation of the presence/absence of geoforensic evidence. Whilst every contact does indeed leave a trace, it is imperative that there is an appreciation of the context of each forensic investigation, meaningful science take place and accurate and helpful crime reconstructions to be achieved.

Journal Article.  4653 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Policing

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