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Further Analysis

The final aspects of analysis to be considered are the anatomical features within the unknown mark.

Ridge Flow and Pattern

The Fingerprint Examiner will then analyse the print in more detail looking at the actual flow of the ridges to determine if there is any discernible pattern type.

Digit Determination

They will consider any clues in the print that may indicate which finger, thumb or area of palm that could have left the impression. Pattern and digit determination allow the expert to prioritise those fingerprints to be compared.


The Examiner will also look at the quality and clarity of the unique features and characteristics that are revealed in the print.

Quality and Clarity

At the conclusion of the analysis stage the Fingerprint Examiner will have made a decision as to the suitability of the print for further examination.


The second stage of the process is comparison. Once the Fingerprint Examiner has analysed the unknown mark and accumulated all the information possible it is then compared to a print on a fingerprint form.

Comparison of Patterns

Firstly the patterns are compared. The overall fingerprint pattern does not have sufficient uniqueness to determine identification, and only functions to narrow the number of possibilities of donors. However, at this stage of the comparison, differences in pattern type may be sufficient enough to eliminate the unknown mark from the print.

Comparison of Ridge Characteristics

If the patterns are found to be in agreement the comparison moves to the next level - the ‘comparison of ridge characteristics'. The ridge features are examined to ascertain whether they are in the same position, in the same order and have the same relationship to each other with none in disagreement in both the known prints and unknown marks. This is known as the coincident sequence.

If any unaccountable disagreement is found the identity cannot be established and the known print will be discounted from the comparison process.

However, if the initial sequences agree in both impressions, the Examiner will proceed to compare the relative position and location of further characteristics in both prints, all the time looking for any disagreement in the sequence of characteristics.

The Fingerprint Examiner will also be taking into account the unique features of the ridges themselves looking for agreement between any visible distinctive ridge edge shapes and minute detail.

This process will continue until the Examiner is satisfied that the comparison process is complete.