What are fingerprints and how do they allow for identification


Fingerprints are unique to an individual. No two people – even identical twins – have the same fingerprints, making them the best and easiest way to identify individuals.


All of us are born with a characteristic set of ridges on our fingertips. The ridges – rich in sweat pores – form a pattern that remains fixed for life. Even if the skin is removed, that same pattern will be appear when the skin regenerates. Some of the typical pattern types found in fingerprints are loops, whorls, and arches, each coming in unique patterns depending on the shape and their relationship with the ridges. It is these characteristics that allow for identification.


Oils from sweat glands collect on these ridges. When we touch something, a small amount of the oils and other materials on our fingers are left on the surface of the object we touched. The pattern left by these substances, which collect along the ridges on our fingers, make up the fingerprints that police look for at the scene of a crime.


How are fingerprints used


Fingerprint analysis is most commonly associated with forensic investigations in criminal cases. Police recover fingerprints from a crime scene using a variety of techniques. Police them compare these crime samples to reference samples obtained from suspects. The reference samples are obtained by rolling a suspect’s fingers in ink and then transferring them to a smooth paper surface. A comparison can then be done by an fingerprint expert.


Fingerprinting in this manner has other applications outside of the criminal or police jurisdiction. Fingerprints remain an excellent method of identification and are therefore still commonly used today in other processed and applications such as


  • Biometric Security (to control access to secure areas, or even a person’s mobile phone)
  • Identifying people with amnesia and lack of other formal or informal identification
  • Deceased people (such as from war or major disasters)
  • Background checks (applications for government, employment, defence security clearance and permits, applications for visas and travel permits)



Forensic Pathways’ Expertise – How We Can Help


Our staff at Forensic Pathways have both forensic, scientific and legal qualifications. Dr Clint Hampson has more than 15 years experience in taking inked fingerprints for a wide range of applications relating to employment, defence security clearance and permits, applications for visas and travel permits and more.


If you need your fingerprints taken for any reason, please contact our office. Our forensic consultants will provide you with a quick and professional inked fingerprinting service which is authenticated with an identity check and supporting affidavit. We will also beat any competitors price for this service.