For more than a century, fingerprints have been useful in a wide range of applications, because they can be used for identification due to fundamental principles: immutability in the course of life (they are permanent) and uniqueness because always different (they are individual). In forensics, there are very large databases that allow the recognition of aliases, traces found at a crime scene and unknown bodies.
This Handbook is organized into 4 Sections.
It is divided into 25 Chapters.
The main reason is to provide an explanation of fingerprints, to facilitate their understanding and use. There are also specific purposes.
The first is to provide a 360-degree view of their applications.
The second is to go beyond algorithms or rigid formulas to provide a practical point of view on the subject, also with examples from their everyday use in forensic cases.
The third is to summarize the pros and cons of various issues, as well as reviewing current and past procedures.
The fourth is to raise awareness of the risks implicit to the work: the reliability of fingerprint comparison must be carefully preserved.
Finally, the fifth is to stress the importance of improving cooperation and interoperability between law enforcement agencies and to increase large-scale fingerprint databases, useful for both civilian applications and for a more effective fight against international crime.
Andrea Giuliano is an Inspector with the Italian State Police.
He has been working at the Fingerprint Office of the Forensic Science Police of Turin (Italy) for over twenty-five years. He has also conducted several studies on this subject.