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Forensic Microscopy (571A/20)

Request

> Do the West Midlands Police use tape lifting as part of forensic particle evidence investigations? If so, what tape is used.
> Do the West Midlands Police use optical (compound) microscopy as part of forensic particle evidence investigations?
>
Do the West Midlands Police use a database of particles and or particle characteristics within your forensic particle analysis work, if so, what databases do the West Midlands Police use?
>
Do the West Midlands Police maintain a reference collection of particles for comparison within the forensic trace analysis work, if so, how many specimens are maintained approximately (ball-park) and who created them (again very general information would be very welcome).
> In the event that neither a database or reference collection are contained, then how is a definitive particle identity confirmed.

On 18th August 2020 we sent the following clarification:

> Question 5: In the event that neither a database or reference collection are contained, then how is a definitive particle identity confirmed.

CLARIFICATION REQUIRED

I am writing to ask you to clarify your request. This is because or we are not certain that we have understood your request correctly].

Therefore I should be grateful if you would provide an explanation as to what information you specifically require in question 5.

Question 5 isn’t valid under s8(1)(c) freedom of information act – as it doesn’t specify what recorded information you require. I am therefore clarifying this point.

You replied on 18th august 2020:

“What recordable information do analysts use to identify the nature of particles under the microscope apart from databases and physical thin section specimens; in particular, do the analysts use books, journals and other media to make the positive ID of particles, or are these findings simply based on analyst experience? ”

Response

> Do the West Midlands Police use tape lifting as part of forensic particle evidence investigations? If so, what tape is used?

Yes, West Midlands Police use Tape-Its® forensics fibre recovery tape.

> Do the West Midlands Police use optical (compound) microscopy as part of forensic particle evidence investigations?

No. West Midlands Police use Low Power optical microscopy in our Lab in force, but not as part of ‘particle evidence investigations.

> Do the West Midlands Police use a database of particles and or particle characteristics within your forensic particle analysis work, if so, what databases do the West Midlands Police use?

No such databases used in West Midlands Police Forensics. West Midlands Police do not retain any information locally.


>
Do the West Midlands Police maintain a reference collection of particles for comparison within the forensic trace analysis work, if so, how many specimens are maintained approximately (ball-park) and who created them (again very general information would be very welcome).

No


> In the event that neither a database or reference collection are contained, then how is a definitive particle identity confirmed.

Question clarified to:  What recordable information do analysts use to identify the nature of particles under the microscope apart from databases and physical thin section specimens; in particular, do the analysts use books, journals and other media to make the positive ID of particles, or are these findings simply based on analyst experience?

West Midlands Police do not maintain a database. Any casework where such considerations are a factor would be outsourced and conducted by a Forensic Service Provider.

 

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