Part One:- Forensic Traces



The science of fingerprint examination is called dactyloscopy. We are born with our fingerprints and we'll never be able to change them or get rid of them. Whenever you touch something with your fingerprints you leave behind your calling card. The police will have a varying degree of difficulty in reproducing your prints depending upon the surface in which they lie. Obviously surfaces such as glass, marble, chrome, etc. will be the easiest, whilst it is almost impossible to lift prints from brickwork or untreated wood. A fingerprint is basically the fatty, acidic residue left on a surface in the exact shape of the ridge lines of your fingertips. Because a fingerprint is composed of sweat, which is an acid, in some instances it will etch itself onto metal. This is most likely to occur with crowbars, hammers, chisels, etc and can be erased by rubbing down the said tools with coarse wire wool after use. The police are continually perfecting their methods of print detection because they are such a foolproof piece of personal identification. The police can take prints from skin (if they really try), from tightly woven fabrics, especially sythentic fabrics, and paper.

To convict, the police need to show 12 matching features of a fingerprint. In practice, these can be found on just one square centimetre of skin area. Fingerprints are fairly hard to destroy and even immersion in water will not do the job completely, so if you are going to throw something over a bridge, don't forget to wipe it down first. Unless an object is totally consumed, fire is also not a sure method of erasing prints as a layer of carbon can cover them and keep them recognisable. The older a print becomes, the harder it is to reproduce, although in theory it will last forever, as long as it has not been disfigured. Fingerprints are kept on the Police National Computer (PNC) in the form of encoded data and as such do not need to be visually checked to be found to match. A specialist will analyse the fingerprint and turn it into a series of four digit numbers. These numbers are then entered in to the PNC, which will return the location of any matching fingerprints held by the Fingerprint Bureau at New Scotland Yard. These matches will be examined further in detail to see if any of the candidates presented by the PNC exactly match those found at the scene of the crime.

The PNC fingerprint index is used roughly 300,000 times a year. A new system of fingerprint recognition has been developed which can virtually translate a single print into unique and complex computer data, thus making positive ID from a partial found print possible.

The police show a great deal of interest in everyone's prints, to the extent that babies are now being fingerprinted at birth in some countries, in case they get "lost". How touching! In the station, the police will always try and take your prints. Since the introduction of the Criminal Evidence Act, they have more or less complete freedom to do so, without having to go to a magistrate anymore. In theory, it is possible to smudge or blur your fingerprints. One way is to leave plenty of soap on your hands after you've been made to wash them and another is to try and "help" the police. The idea is that you relax your fingers while they roll them over the sheet. If you apply too much pressure, or slide about a bit, you might smudge a couple. On the other hand, they might just tear them up and start again, or even tear you up and start again!


Glass Traces

This is definitely one of the areas of forensics for people to know about. Every time that glass is smashed, tiny shards of the stuff fly everywhere. For practical purposes it is wisest to assume that anyone even remotely near to breaking glass is covered in the stuff. It sticks to things like shit to a blanket, especially to loose-fibred cloth such as woollen hats. The only way to get rid of it is to throw away anything you may have been wearing. Glass also likes to get embedded in the soles of shoes. The police can identify different makes and types of glass, and can therefore put you at a certain place at a certain time. Fine, broken-glass powder will stick to the smooth surfaces of tools, and fibres from your clothing will stick to the sharp edges of broken glass. The best way to break glass without covering yourself in traces is from a very long distance, using a powerful slingshot and marbles or, for toughened glass, steel ball bearings. But remember, marbles and ball bearings retain your prints very well, so wear gloves. Or why not try glass etching fluid? You can get it easily in craft shops, and with it you can write a message on a window that can never be removed without removing the window pane itself.

NB: In some towns you have to sign for etching fluid, and in some instances shopkeepers report sales to the police.


Dust Traces

For the police to convict you on the basis of dust traces takes a great deal of work on their part, involving painstaking work with powerful microscopes. The composition of dust in your clothes can tell them where you have been (e.g, a metal foundry) and at what time of year (by identifying the spores of seasonal plants). By just washing your clothes thoroughly you can get rid of most of these traces, but as always, the safest thing is to ditch them. It is unusual, but not unknown, for the police to use dust traces to convict. These traces are more useful as a last resort for clues when other avenues have failed. They are chiefly used to find out where something has been and for how long; e.g, guns, bodies, stolen goods.

In brief, the investigation of these traces is only likely to come up in a serious case, and should you start to worry about traces this tiny, then paranoia is taking over from sensible precaution. If the police threaten to use them against you then it indicates that they most likely have nothing better to go on.


Wood Traces

Wood will yield some information to the investigator. It is possible for him/her/it to match small pieces of wood to each other, even from samples as small as sawdust or splinters. If someone has been introducing your local red's head to a piece of 4x2 then a match can be made to the piece it was cut from. When they remove the said lump from your red's head, it will be checked for foreign bodies, such as textile fibres, paint flakes, hairs and other incriminating evidence. If a baseball bat were to be used instead, and not disposed of, then it could be linked to the "crime" by comparison with the splinters it has left in the skull as well as by traces of varnish or resin and the bat itself will carry traces of skin, hair, blood, not to mention matching dents! There is no point in keeping such weapons after they have been used.


Soil and Plant Traces

A forensic scientist can tell roughly where you have been from the composition of the dirt and soil that you will have picked up on your travels. If, let's say, you've been keeping warm by standing next to a burning portacabin on a building site, then traces of sand, cement, gypsum, gravel, lime, etc. will have collected on your shoes and clothes. If you have been watching Lord Anthony Wedgewood Benn's stately ancestral home burn to the ground, then traces of earth from his garden will be on you, as will traces of plant life, such as pollen from the rare gladioli that you may have brushed against. Once again, it is best to dispose of any clothing. These traces are used to put you in a certain place and, in some cases, at a certain time. As with dust traces, don't let the police bluff a confession out of you by saying that these traces are cast iron evidence; they are certainly not and can be disputed in court.


Hair Traces

We all shed hair, and we shed it all the time. If we stay in one place for any length of time then it is certain that we will leave samples of our hair in the vicinity. It is most likely to be lodged in the clothing of someone with whom you have had close contact (ie, the red you have just throttled). Hair will tell the forensic expert many things: where it came from on the body (scalp, beard, crotch, eyebrows, nose, armpit), how long your hair is, whether it has been cut recently, if you have been using any specific chemicals on it such as dyes, etc. They can also tell if you fall into the racial categories of Caucasoid, Negroid, Mongoloid or even mixtures of the three. They can tell your sex and blood type. It is harder to tell the colour of your hair as individual strands differ in hue from each other. It becomes easier if they possess more hairs. The good news is that conclusive proof of ID is NOT possible, BUT hair samples can prove your innocence, in the same way that parentage can only be disproved through blood tests. On the other hand, if they have a sample of your hair and it is 2 feet long, dyed green and you used superglue to spike it, then they'd probably have a good case for a positive ID. Wear a tight-fitting hat - even if you're a skinhead.


Shoe Traces

There are thousands of styles and sizes of footwear and each one is distinctive, even more so when it has been worn for a while and picked up marks of wear and tear. Basically, a clear footprint is as useful to a forensic expert as a fingerprint. Yet again you can throw away your shoes but better still get a crappy pair second hand and only wear them for the activity before dumping them, without letting your closes friends or relatives know you ever had them. Whilst you are in a cell, the pigs can always con your wife or girlfriend into telling them what sort of footwear you have and this could be a problem in court later if one of the pairs is missing.

Shoe prints can be left behind on surfaces such as lino or marble. On soft surfaces such as mud, earth, dog shit, etc, shoe impressions will be left behind. Identification can be made from these and is watertight evidence if a match is made. Shoes also carry traces away with them such as oil, petrol, glass splinters and other such giveaways. Never wear them in your home.

Tracker dogs will also be able to follow the smell from your shoes but not for more than 10 to 12 hours afterwards, and then only in favourable conditions. Roads that smell of exhaust fumes, petrol and rubber will mask your smell. The best conditions for tracker dogs are unspoilt meadows during moist and cool weather.


Blood Traces

There are several instances where blood may be spilt, and for this reason it makes sense to know as much about it as possible. Blood is very hard to get rid of once it has got on you or your clothing. Even dry cleaning will not remove it thoroughly. Should you find yourself near to someone who has been punched in the nose or stabbed, you will be covered in a fine spray of blood droplets.

A forensic scientist can detect, retrieve and examine the minutest traces of blood, and the amount of information to be gathered depends on the circumstances. In the laboratory, a fresh, warm pint of blood can show the type, the sex of the donor, any illnesses peculiar to the donor or any drugs or medication used recently. In practice, however, the smaller the quantity and the older the sample, the harder the task. Importantly, a blood sample cannot be positively proved to be yours, although it can be proven that it isn't.



A relatively new development that has only recently become widely available to the police is "genetic fingerprinting", using D.N.A molecules, as unique to each person as a fingerprint. Since 1996, all people arrestd by the police have had a sample of their D.N.A taken, usually from the roof of the mouth. D.N.A can be obtained from any secretion from the body such as saliva, mucus, sweat, etc. and from blood, hair and flakes of skin. If someone were to commit a crime such as murder then great care would have to be taken by the perpetrator, especially if they had already had a D.N.A sample taken. A simple sneeze or cough could release enough mucus to leave traceable D.N.A behind, a great help to the police in their search for the killer. Most murders are committed by someone who already knows the victim, so the police are likely to ask the deceased's family, friends and acquaintances to give a voluntary D.N.A sample and anyone who refused would have a court order brought to force them to give a sample or the police could get a sample off a toothbrush or the like. At the moment, this form of detection is really only used for serious crimes such as murder or rape but as things continue on this downward spiral and people start to fight back, this could be used to combat things as small as a sticker (your saliva mixed with the gum) deemd to incite "racial hatred" (terrorism, in the System's eyes). Take utmost care when doing anything. Wear full face masks and gloves if necessary.


Textile Traces

There is not a lot to say about these traces that is not common sense - just think of your clothes as blotting paper that will soak up incriminating evidence like crazy! Dust, soil, chemicals, blood, petrol, paint, the list is endless. Clothing will also leave behind particles of fabric, and as with gloves, will leave impressions should you sit or lean on anything soft. Traces of fibre and debris from your own environment will be carried by your clothes and left at the scene. For instance, the fibres from your sofa, carpet, car furnishings, etc. will be carried by your trousers, for example, amd may be left wherever you go. To circumvent this wear old clothes and discard them afterwards. Remember, if you wear them back home, you will also be carrying back traces from wherever you may have been.


Tool Traces

In much the same way that a bullet will retain scratches from the barrel of the gun from which it was fired, then tools such as chisels, pliers, bolt cutters, knives, screwdrivers, etc. will leave identifying marks at the scene of an investigation. These marks can be matched to the tool later using comparison or stereo microscopes. Most obviously, the shear marks on a cut padlock can be linked to the cutters. If the same pair of bolt cutters has been doing the rounds, and you're nicked with it, you might find yourself being held responsible for any number of unsolved "crimes". If such tools have been used to break into somewhere like a Marxist bookshop and serious damage such as arson has taken place, then it is courting disaster to hold onto them. For less dodgy instances, the working edges of tools can be given a new "face" by filing or re-sharpening, but only if the tool is in good condition and not badly pitted or scarred. Tools are not just made of metal; objects such as rope, string, tape, etc. are just as incriminatory and lend themselves equally to comparative analysis


Glove Traces

Although it is always best to wear gloves to avoid leaving fingerprints behind, you should be aware that gloves themselves can sometimes leave as much information. Gloves leave traces of the fabric they are made from on anything they touch, especially broken glass, fencing, masonry and rough wood. They should be thrown away after use or positive links could be found through analysis. Plastic or rubber gloves will leave your prints on the inside and some thin surgical gloves can still allow your prints/impressions to show up on shiny/hard surfaces. If discarded gloves are found, traces of sweat will be present as well as comparative traces such as wood splinters, paint flakes, glass splinters, etc. from the crime scene. Also you are going to look dead suspicious wearing gloves in mild weather, especially if there are more than one of you and you are all wearing them!


Body Secretion Traces

The human body produces various fluids and secretions, apart from blood. As mentioned in the D.N.A chapter, these include spit, sweat, tears, earwax, urine, snot, etc. Apart from D.N.A which is conclusive, any illnesses that you may have will be apparent on examination of any of these secretions found. These illnesses could then be traced to you by examining the medical files of all known members of the group you are involved in; i.e, a sample of spit found at the scene may show that you are a diabetic. By checking the known sympathisers of any group they deem responsible for the "crime" they can then look through lists of registered diabetics and find your name. They can then take a D.N.A test from you to prove that you were there. Avoid spitting, etc. and if possible wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth.


Vehicle Traces

Vehicle traces refer to any parts of forensic evidence that may be left by motor transport. Firstly, tyre tracks: these are usually left in soft ground and not on hard top roads, although they may be found in soft tar, dog shit, etc. and in the case of a collision usually imprinted in the flesh of the victim(s). These traces will identify the make of tyre, and most instances will prove unique to one tyre due to the characteristic wear. The distance between tyre tracks will indicate axle width and chassis length, thus indicating the type of vehicle. Some cars carry unique tyres, for instance imported, or small production runs. Transfer traces are those which are left on the scene due to collision or contact. Most commonly this involves paint flakes. These are always left in the case of any contact. As well as indicating the exact colour of the vehicle, when studied microsopically they will identify the brand of car and very often the model. This is due to the fact that auto paint can consist of over 14 layers of primer, paint, lacquer, etc. which are unique to different manufacturers. From one paint flake it is possible to know the make, model, colour, previous colour(s) and the year of manufacture of a given car. Due to the extensive registration of vehicles, this means that the police have a large amount of information to work on.

Other types of transfer traces consist of trim that may have been dislodged, such as hubcaps, bits of windscreen, light covers, door handles, those stupid rubber earth strips that hang off the rear bumper, aerials, coon tails, furry dice, etc. All these things lend themselves to comparative analysis. The direction and speed of a vehicle can be estimated from the direction of tyre tracks, dripping oil, etc.

As vehicles are so closely monitored in this country (M.O.T, license, insurance, tax, etc) the police have a great deal of evidence to go on already, before any crime has been committed. They always monitor supporters of "fringe" political groups anyway, so it is not advisable to use your own car for anything dodgy. It may be spotted by the video cameras that infest our inner cities and especially on petrol station forecourts.

Some combinations of car and occupant(s) are much more likely to get stopped than others - here,in no particular order, are some that are favourites for attracting the attention of the police - 'Boy Racer' vehicles,older 'working class' vehicles,works vans out after dark,cars with more than 2 occupants out after dark,anything that a 'gyppo' might drive ie Transit type van\tipper.At the time of writing ( Dec 2000 ) vehicles to specially avoid using wherever possible are the Vauxhall Cavalier\Astra and the Ford Sierra,Fiesta,Escort and Orion all of which carry maximum risk of a stop-check.

The police have access to the DVLA computer simply by calling their control room and can find out the current keeper of the vehicle,most of the other logbook details and whether or not it is taxed.In addition vehicles may be 'flagged' on the computer as being 'suspicious' or subject to investigation.For every car that is actually stopped many radio checks will have been made on other cars but not acted upon.Driving a 'dodgy' motor is becoming an increasingly riskier business and is to be avoided wherever possible.


Arson and Fire Traces

It's a fact that fire does not destroy evidence and the Fire Investigation Unit who turn up if a fire looks suspicious possess a large degree of skill in being able to determine the flashpoint of the fire and what caused it. They can also tell if the fire was started with petrol, paraffin or whatever.

Chemicals used to start a fire will almost certainly end up on the clothes of the person(s) who started it. Particles of soot will also lodge in the clothing and hair. Many arsonists have been caught because they wanted to come back and watch the fire.


Ballistic and Firearm Traces

In Britain, which has such a small number of private firearms, the forensic investigation of ballistics is considered of paramount importance. For this reason, extreme care must be taken when getting involved with them.

Firstly the potential of the bullet. If it is recovered in good condition, then it will reveal the calibre of the weapon, the type and often the manufacturer. A bullet will remain in good condition if it enters flesh or any other soft material. If it hits thick metal or concrete, etc. it will be disfigured but will retain many of its identifying characteristics. Certain types of bullet are designed to fragment on contact. These are bullets such as Dum Dum, Mercury Tip, Hollow Point or Explosive. Whilst this makes the forensic investigator's job harder, it doesn't stop it. No matter what type of bullet has been used, it's always safer to assume that it has left enough characteristic marks to make it identifiable. As we all know from watching police shows on the ZOG box, the barrel of a gun imparts unique markings to the surface of the bullet, which can be matched to specimens when viewed through a stereo microscope. What we perhaps don't all know is that the shell casing or cartridge also carries unique markings, from the impact of the bolt and ejection mechanisms. All automatic guns eject their cartridges but a cage or trap fitted around the eject port enables these to be caught. Every police force worldwide keeps a pictorial file of all bullets and weapons used previously (and most countries cooperate with each other) and should you be caught with a weapon of dubious ancestry, you could find yourself having a lot to explaining to do.

When a gun is fired, particles of gas and powder will DEFINITELY lodge themselves in any exposed skin or clothing. These particles can be found by a forensic examiner by the taking of ether swabs. In the USA an aerosol has been developed that can be sprayed on the hands and will show up as a coloured dye immediately should it come into contact with these particles. It is used to eliminate suspects after (say) an assassination attempt has been made. Use gloves!

Once a gun has been used it is courting disaster to keep it. It should be cleaned, dismantled and distributed into a deep lake, not forgetting that fingerprints can be preserved under water, especially if covered with a layer of gun oil.

In conclusion, firearms are an area in which forensics are advanced and extensive, thus giving the police the edge. Definitely not an area to get involved in unless you know what you are doing.


Voice Identification

It is possible from a tape recording of a voice to compare it with another voice and decide whether they are one and the same. This is because each person's voice is a combination of frequencies which can be analysed using a sound spectrograph. This is most likely to be called into use for anonymous phone calls, and to this end it should be asumed that all telephones are not secure. Most newspapers have facilities for immediately recording calls and all emergency services calls are automatically taped. Changing your voice, dialect or pitch won't make a hell of a difference to your "voice print". Speaking through a handkerchief has absolutely no effect! If you do have to use your voice on the phone, try everything from pinching your nose, stuffing your mouth with tissues and speaking with a Pakistani accent. Perhaps the best way to phone in a message is to edit on tape together the words of TV personalities, in the same way as ransom notes are made from cut up newspapers. Just imagine: "This is Trevor McDonald claiming responsibility on behalf of C18...."


Face Identification

We've all seen identikit pictures, and on the whole they just serve to give the roughest idea of someone's face. Obviously, certain things are of more help than others - scars, moles, broken noses, tattoos, etc. The latest development is from Sweden, where a computer takes a basic identikit picture and blurs the edges over, finally producing a computer generated image similar to a photograph. The police also use professional artists to make sketches from a witness's description. It is hard to change the features on your face, but certain things help. Glasses, changes of hairstyle, hair colour, etc. Women can also use a mountain of makeup to heighten cheekbones etc. Men can grow or shave facial hair. A man with a skinhead and a moustache looks radically different from the same man cleanshaven and with long hair.


Responsibility Notes

These are a bit of an ego trip and just give the police more evidence to work on. In fact, it might be the only evidence the police will have, so why give it to them? However. if you do have to send one, there are some things you should be aware of.

Your D.N.A and other details can be taken from the spit used to moisten the stamp and envelope flap. Paper also carries fingerprint traces. When handwriting, use stylised block capitals:-

Only ever write on one sheet of paper at a time, preferably on a flat, hard surface such as glass which will not take the impression of what you are writing. Don't use sheets torn from a notebook as the tear and type of notebook can be matched. Also something innocuous written in the notebook can be already transferred to the sheet you're using, providing more comparisons. Use envelopes and paper from a very commom brand and only write on one sheet at a time. Destroy any remaining sheets or envelopes. Don't keep any stamps from the same block. Don't post anything in your own area. Be aware that minute traces of hair and fibre can be easily trapped in the glue of the letter or stamp, especially if the letter has been in your pocket. This is even more likely if you have been cutting up newspaper words and sticking them down. When doing this, don't keep the glue, the scissors or the paper. Use "Bic" ballpoint pens as these are the most common or use a felt pen, which is also less likely to leave an impression on sheets below.


Typewriter Traces

Every typewriter carries its own unique identifying marks. These come from the keys themselves which show individual peculiarities of wear and style. Then there's the pressure that the keys have made on the paper and the alignment (or lack of it) of the letters. It is also possible to have an idea of the typist from the pressure emphasis of certain letters, e.g. "hunt and peck" versus touch typing. To avoid all this, use a machine with a separate type element such as a daisy wheel. These can be bought from stationery shops for around a tenner and discarded after use. Better paying a tenner than spending ten years in jail. Even better, get one of those small stencils with a full alphabet and numerals (letter size approx 1/2 inch, cost approx o1). Discard after use.

A computer could be better if it's not yours but bear in mind that every item of work done on a computer is saved somewhere in the memory and police forensics will find it so it's best not to use one. Computer printers also have their own unique way of printing. Use block capitals, preferably by using a stencil.


Making Impressions Visible Again

It is sometimes believed that it is possible to remove identifying serial numbers by filing or drilling them off. The numbers stamped on the frames of cars, guns and other metal objects can be made visible again by various forensic procedures. This is because the initial stamping has changed the structure of the metal beneath the surface. The best way to utilise this factor is by filing off the numbers and then banging the hell out of the area with a hammer and cold chisel before re-stamping.

Many items are now marked by the owners with an ultra-violet pen that is invisible to the naked eye. Ultra-violet bulbs can be bought from electrical shops and these will help you read any numbers or marks.


Traces in Printing

When writing "subversive" pamphlets, books, stickers, etc. there are various processes which lend themselves to forensic comparison.Most "typesetting" is done by computers and, as mentioned earlier, each computer printer has its own unique style of printing. The printer may print the letter "S" in a way that may be comparable or the printe may leave tiny, invisible marks that can be identified by matching them to the printed pages. People seem to think that if you clear the hard drive of a computer then it is safe. This is bollocks and you should never really use your own computer for purposes deemed "illegal" by the State, not unless you want to totally destroy your computer afterwards by tearing it apart and taking a sledgehammer to the hard-disk.

Nowadays computers are dropping in price every month. You can probably pick up a decent hard drive from the small-ads of your local paper for about o200 if not less and a printer for an extra o50. These are small and pretty easy to hide in a friend's house (one who's not connected with your group, of course!) while you have a computer at home that you use for legal stuff only. When printing originals, etc. off always wear gloves, etc. as mentioned previously. Use the commonest brands of ink, paper, etc. so as to make comparisons useless. Distribution should be carried out very quickly, preferably with only yourself or the smallest number of people knowing about it as possible. Don't leave any stockpiles in embarrassing places. Remember, the police are trained to look in the places you think they won't and they'll take your house apart brick by brick if they think it will secure a conviction.

To avoid the labour of these above precautions, get comrades abroad to typeset, lay out and print off your literature there if possible. This country's laws are probably about the tightest in the world as far as material that challenges the status quo is concerned but there are countries that have virtually no laws regarding such subjects as race, guns, etc. and which are only a boat ride or short plane flight away. If it's a case of o500 travelling expenses or 5 years in the gulag, which would you prefer?