CRIMINALS are more likely to find themselves caught “red-footed” after police introduced a new way of sharing their national database of shoeprints.
Whenever a footprint is found at a crime scene, forensic experts take casts and photographs of them and record them in a database.
These can later be compared to suspects’ shoes to see if they match.
Detectives have for many years used different methods of identifying footprints, but now forces across the country have signed up to a new computerised reference library, creating a more unified approach.
Staff from Lancashire Police, which covers the north of Bolton, have been involved in creating the new database, called the National Footwear Reference Collection.
Lancashire Police’s scientific support manager Dr Kath Mashiter said: “The launch of the NFRC represents a huge milestone in the footwear world, as for the first time, all police forces in England and Wales will be using a common reference collection.
“This will enable them to talk to each other in the same language – for example, a Nike 126 will mean the same in Kent as it does in Northumberland.”
As a forensic podiatrist, I could not be happier to hear about this footprint file. Like fingerprints, no two footprints are alike, and many people have been convicted or cleared of wrong-doing based on their feet.