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Footwear Mark Proficiency Test Provides Surprising Results

June 01 2015

Forensic Science Interpreting The Evidence

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Footwear Marks

Our footwear mark examiners successfully completed a recent International proficiency test by getting the right results.

Worryingly, however, 24% of other respondents incorrectly reported a level of support between a mark and a shoe which had not made the mark. Half of these respondents actually thought there was strong, very strong or even conclusive support that the shoe had made the mark!  One of the respondents who got it wrong explained:

The comparison examinations were done by three forensic experts and our final results are consensual.  Our comparisons showed a perfect match regarding shape, size and individual characteristics.  Such matches are only possible if the scene print and the test print were made with the same sole.

Such conclusive, yet incorrect, responses raise serious questions about the level of training and expertise of a large proportion of footwear mark examiners.  Equally it raises serious questions about the standard of evidence verification processes, i.e. the quality control procedures being used by prosecution laboratories.

If footwear mark evidence is part of your case, has it been correctly examined?  To discuss how we can assist you, please contact one of our Footwear Experts in Durham (Dr Guy Cooper or Alan Henderson on 0191 332 4999) or Huntingdon (Dorothy Allan on 01480 432 794).

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