Lifting fingerprints from smuggled elephant tusks

MQT on 2015-11-18
Session date: 
November 18, 2015
Question By: 
Tony Arbour
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


It was recently reported that the Metropolitan Police Service is currently working with Kings College London to develop new ways of lifting fingerprints from smuggled elephant tusks. How much has been spent on this programme of work, and are there possibilities for the new techniques developed to be used for detecting other types of crime?


Answer for Lifting fingerprints from smuggled elephant tusks

Answer for Lifting fingerprints from smuggled elephant tusks

Answered By: 
The Mayor

The MPS is at the forefront, alongside the National Crime Agency in confronting the organised crime threat in this country. I am keen for the MPS to research new and innovative investigation techniques that can be used to tackle this type of crime threat.

This project compared the use of various commercially available products to establish which was the most effective to develop latent fingermarks on ivory products.  Ivory smuggling is associated with Organised Crime, and as such the use of this product may prove a valuable tool in the detection and disruption of activities within Organised Crime. Further work needs to be undertaken to establish if this powder is effective on other substrates.

The MPS has a strategic alliance with Kings College London (KCL) and this project formed part of the joint working with the use of MSc students to conduct research.  The MPS is examining a range of different approaches to enhanced fingermark recovery and the use of nano-particles is part of this.  There is no cost for the programme/research as this is part of the strategic alliance with KCL, however the nano-particle powder costs:  £6.20 for 30millilitres.