Key Dates in British Forensic Science

287 – 212 BC – Forensic science is said to have begun with Archimedes around this time

1784 – Edward Culshaw was murdered in Lancaster and this well documented case used very basic forensic to aid in the investigation

1805 – In England the bureau of criminal statistics was set up and this was used to collate information about crimes that had been committed

1835 – Henry Goddard, who was one of London’s original Bow Street Runners, was involved in a case were bullet comparison was used for the first time to catch a murderer

19th and early 20th century – Prevalent punishment and prison reforms were taking place

1794 – 1846 – James Marsh, an English pharmacist, released information that the had developed, in 1836, about a way he had found which allowed for processing arsenic from boy tissue

1843 – M’Naghten/McNaughton Rules were created which allowed for establishing if at the time of a crime being committed, insanity is the cause of an individuals behaviour

1854 – Maddox, who was an English doctor, developed ‘dry plate photography’ which was useful for photographing prison inmates

1856 – Sir William Herschel, who was a British officer but based in India, began to use thumb-prints on documents as a signature

1901 – The Galton-Henry system of fingerprint classification became the official system of fingerprinting to be used at Scotland Yard

1851 – 1931 – Sir Edward R. Henry was an English police officer who then went on to become the chief commissioner of Scotland Yard

1901 – Sir Edward R. Henry then went on to improve the previous fingerprint classification system and his way is still used over the world

1930 – Sir James Mackenzie, an English heart specialist, created the ink polygrpah

1935 – The Metropolitan police laboratory was fully established and available for use

1950 – Alec Jeffreys developed the first DNA fingerprinting and profiling techniques

1960 – In this year voiceprints began to be used in criminal and forensic investigations

1991 – The United Kingdom’s forensic science service is opened in London

2007 – Footwear Intelligence Technology (FIT) was brought into use in Britain

2008 – Leicester University’s Forensic Research Centre introduced a new method of being able to take fingerprints from a crime scene


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