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    New techniques for contaminated crime scenes

    © Belga
    The scientists have developed a radiation detector, intended for investigators called to hazardous locations to collect evidence.
    © Belga

    The NationaI Institute for Criminology and Forensics (known as the “INCC”) has developed a pioneering device and aid for detection. This enables quicker treatment and analysis, as well as actual removal, of evidence and proof collected at crime scenes contaminated by dangerous substances. This is reported by Le Soir on Monday.

    These new methods of investigation have been developed in partnership with around twenty operators, as part of the European project known as Gift. The aim was to take account of new hypotheses, such as the use by terrorist groups of chemical weapons to commit mass murder.

    The scientists have notably developed a radiation detector, intended for those called to hazardous locations to collect evidence. Bart Nys, Research Coordinator, explains, “Until now, we’ve only had detectors which enable the level of radiation, or the presence of chemical products in the air, to be determined. However with these new machines, we will, for example, be able to determine how many specific molecules are present in the air.”

    An information system has also been developed to enable crime scene management whilst the given intervention is in progress. Bart Nys goes on, “Measurements produced on-site upon contaminated objects will be sent directly to the forensics laboratory. They will be inputted into a database and shared with experts involved in the given case, including judges and law officers.”

    He further explains that researchers have succeeded in “developing new methods to decontaminate these objects whilst preserving DNA or finger prints. One of these methods enables the use of vapour to remove dangerous substances, whilst preserving all other molecules.”

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times