The Forensic Technology Behind Your Favourite T.V Detectives

Last updated: 04 August 2022

Crime, law and order, and forensic science-based shows have long been a popular staple on our television screens; Crime Scene Investigation (CSI), Bones, Dexter, Sherlock – just to name a few. And the popularity of the genre has only increased in recent years thanks to the rise of True Crime podcasts.

According to Psychology Today, one of the reasons for the growing popularity is because “Crime entertainment is like working a puzzle that also gives you a rush of excitement every time you put the last piece in. For the sake of curiosity, these series are often presented in a play-by-play mystery format, where the viewer is solving the case alongside the detectives.”

One of the key players in any crime scene investigation drama is the forensic detective or scientist. Sherlock Holmes, D.B.Russell, Dexter Morgan, Ella Lopez and Temperence Bones – all fan favourites, and as viewers, we enjoy watching them use a combination of logic and modern science to crack the case.

While these characters are fictional, many of the techniques are very real; and there’s some amazing forensic technology out there that helps real-life investigations.

Reliable Mobile Biometric Identification

We often see our favourite detectives out on location, tracking down suspects, interviewing witnesses or on the hunt for evidence. In these scenarios, where developments can happen in the blink of an eye, it’s vital to have reliable and accurate information at hand.

Mobile identification solutions provide invaluable information to those in the field. It gives them access to data such as; positive identity verification, benefits verification, arrest records, restraining orders, and wants and warrants.

This secure software should be able to leverage a law enforcement agency’s existing equipment for a complete end-to-end solution.

Automated Biometric ID Systems

On our favourite T.V crime dramas, the case often moves at a rapid pace; new evidence is processed, ID checks are carried out almost instantaneously.

In real life, forensic examiners also need to find answers fast. To do so, they have to take hundreds, thousands or even millions of records into consideration when processing a case. And with hundreds of case files to process daily, they need a multi-biometric tool to find answers quickly and efficiently.

There are systems available that are able to capture, search, and store NIST-compliant fingerprints, palm prints, latents, faces, and irises at 500 or 1000 ppi. These systems use comprehensive, powerful tools to analyse and enhance quality of prints, increasing probability of hits. Such high-performance systems support large database capacity while maintaining high throughput and fast response time.

Automating the Analysis, Comparison, Evaluation and Verification (ACE-V)

Forensic investigators often have to juggle multiple cases at once, with hundreds of prints to analyse, compare, and evaluate. Until now, navigating the ACE-V methodology has been a painstaking process involving many manual steps, and time-consuming documentation. However, the technology now exists to streamline the entire process; replicating the fast nature of crime scene investigation that you’d witness on CSI.

This technology enables forensic departments to manage cases with consistency and efficiency, organising by case and record notes, evidence and annotations.

Enabling Identification of Individuals

We’ve all seen it on multiple crime dramas, where a suspect is caught and is brought in for a mugshot or presented as part of a line-up, to be identified by an eyewitness. Technology also helps to keep track of these.

The CMS system is Thales’s latest generation of mugshot and booking records management solution supporting agencies in their investigation operations. Our CMS technology is secure and easy to use and ensures fast and accurate identification of individuals.

CMS combines four essential modules in one unique solution to provide the best support for to investigators and forensic examiners. These are booking management, mug book management, line-up management and face search.

Meeting FBI Standards for Palm Scanning

Another example of forensic technology are palm scanners. Often used in cases of biometric identification; where the scanner is used to determine the identity of an individual; palm scanners are used mainly for law enforcement applications, for example in prisons, police stations and refugee camps.

The comprehensive data that palm scanners collect, including; 10-prints, rolls, half-palms, thenar (ball of palm), full finger (distal, medial and proximal) and fingertip impressions, meet FBI standards and provide a wide range of information required by authorities.

So, next time you settle in for your favourite crime scene drama, take a closer look at the technology involved in solving the crime and see how many you can spot!

Our team are at the International Association for Identification Conference to showcase these ground breaking technologies between July 31 – August 6. Come down and visit us on stand 401.

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