Forensic hair analysis – Worldwide survey results

Melissa Airlie, James Robertson, Elizabeth Brooks

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Forensic hair analysis remains under the microscope. Although hair evidence can yield information pertinent to an investigation, past issues with associated expert testimony endure. The aim of this survey was to gain a better understanding of hair analysts by expanding on past findings by assessing methodology, terminology and bias, analysing demographic and workplace data and allowing participants to comment on current and future issues in hair analysis. An online survey was designed and disseminated to hair analysts worldwide and 176 analysts from 12 countries took part in the survey. Participants responded to questions regarding accreditation, the probative value of hair evidence, collection and packaging, contextual information, methodology, terminology and reporting results, conclusions and opinions. The probative value of hair evidence was supported and other than selection of mounting medium the survey identified a preference of collection methods, packaging materials, use of microscopy and notetaking. Terminology used when conducting hair analysis and reporting results varied and caution towards statistics was expressed while training and collaboration was encouraged. The survey data will be used in the development of validation studies in hair analysis for future dissemination.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110966
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalForensic Science International
Volume327
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

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