Breakthrough in the fight against gun crime as RCMP trial recovers “significant number of identifiable fingerprints” on fired ammunition cartridges and detonated IEDs. 


An article produced by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and published in the Journal of Forensic Identification, has demonstrated the foster+freeman RECOVER Latent Fingerprint Technology to be capable of revealing a significant number of fingermarks on both fired cartridge cases and post-blast IED debris..  

A potential goldmine of forensic evidence, fired ammunition casings have long been considered one of the most challenging exhibits to be examined for fingerprints (possibly due to all traces of evidence being destroyed by the firing process). In fact, despite many years of research, no universal fingermark enhancement method has emerged, until now.


Uniquely Sensitive Technology

Released in late 2018, following more than 10-years research and development by foster+freeman, the UK Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory, and Loughborough University, RECOVER is a unique fingerprint fuming technology capable of revealing “previously difficult or impossible” fingerprints on metallic surfaces.

Because the RECOVER process does not solely require a biological trace to be present to develop an identifiable mark, the technology is ideally suited to the treatment of fired cartridges. The process is so sensitive that fingermarks can even be revealed on post-blast fragments of detonated Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).



'Identifiable Fingermarks'

Having seen the early results achieved using the RECOVER process, Dr Della Wilkinson of the RCMP Integrated Forensic Identification Services, devised a proof of concept study that would include the treatment and examination of a total of 298 cartridge casings, including both 9mm and .223 calibre ammunition.

Under realistic test conditions, experts at the RCMP were able to achieve excellent results across all trials with 12% of fired cartridge casings yielding ‘identifiable fingermarks’ and a further 19% of fired samples being deemed suitable for comparison.


Must-Have Technology

Despite being an entirely new technique, RECOVER’s ability to reveal previously ‘impossible’ fingermarks, has already made it a must-have technology for leading forensic facilities both in Europe and the United States who intend to use the technology for cold case review as well as future investigations.

Now, following the publication of the RCMP article in a renowned forensic journal, RECOVER Latent Fingerprint Technology can be expected to gain further traction within an industry that aims always to maximise every potential source of evidence.


To find out more about RECOVER, or to request a copy of the RCMP paper, please contact sales @



Recovery of Fingermarks from Fired Ammunition and Detonated Improvised Explosive Devices using S2N2 – A Proof of Concept Study

Della Wilkinson, Daniel Hockey, Cameron Power, Rebecca Walls, Jason Cole

Published in the Journal of Forensic Identification. Issue 1: January to March 2020

JFI Abstracts can be viewed on the IAI website:




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