Article image
Article image
This article displays in one automatically-generated column. View the full page to see article in its original form.


'■!' THE WONDERS OF SCIENCE AT. ■ : ;„ SCOTLAND YARD. ;, . One of the wonders of modern detective science, the finger-print system of the de- ■' tection of criminals, is enshrined at Scotland •, Yard in a big . business-like room lined with cupboards. In those cupboards 'are stored away records by which, within -'"». space of five, minutes, any one among . sens of thousands of people can be identi- '" '• :-ied. Ten men arc attached to the depart-, ment of which the big the head- ./; quarters, and those ten men arc engaged " ' '.' day "by day in preparing and- classifying those deadly records from which no cri- ",, minal," however clever in disguise, can * . hope to escape. ' '■' The most skilful and ingenious burglar Mi but to put his hand incautiously on a. window-sash as be gets away with his ■ booty and the next morning he is a known man. No wonder criminals are taking to gloves.; it is their only chance. "'" ■ HOW. , THE SYSTEM WORKS. t The lines on the hand never alter. And • -is on that .remarkable fact that Sir Edward Henry, Chief Commissioner of Police, has built up that system of fingerpi hit detection the amazing results, of .which -occasionally came to light in the ': newspapers. ' .' . '§■ : -n Each of the great London prisons is i ; 'equipped - with apparatus for taking 'finger prints. When the system was first instituted one of the commissioner's lieutenants from, the Yard went round to the various prisons and carefully instructed ;./ the officials in the methods of taking the ; m prints. * '.'.„*"- r At-the present time it is in the prisons -that the finger prints, of which one hears '. 'so much, are taken. Thev arc taken JbH her... by. the prison officials or by ex>"perls' who come from Scotland Yard on .' .purpose. ■."•'.■•■ . ~ To illustrate how the system works, it is best to take a sample case. A man is ■ arrested on a charge of organising a, big jewel robbery in the West End. ► He is .'remanded and sent to. Brixton Prison for. •i, week. ; , .. : :'■'■: '-..'The authorities have some doubt ,as to '(,Whether.or, not he was . connected with a. .- ... ~ tensational crime of two years, before. Ac- ■■• 'fordinglj', his finger prints are taken at w ■ ! the prison. A little slab, some nine inches long and three inches wide, with a smooth' surface, is thinly coated with a ' ' fecial ink- „ (1 . -,-,.-.-. •'. . € - "■' The expert then .takes one hand ol the . " prisoner, places. tne finger of the hand ! sideways on the slab* and turns it steadily -round until the .finger tip from ; one side ~,o£<the nail to the other is coated with.; 1 ' ;-sh3 rink. Then the inked finger is shifted i 'to a sheet of foolscap in readiness. '. The. upper part of the foolscap contains the prisoner's name and .other particulars .'■: . •about him. The lower part is ruled off ~-i;,to divisions'for impressions of the fin-' *, gars and the thumbs'. •- In each'division is indicated the finger or thumb it represents. The inked finger :.<: is carefully turned in its particular division, and an impression of the lines is .thus left upon the paper. :•• And by this simple means ife formed the record from which no person who has '.'.', • passed ' through prison for a serious, of- , "fence'.can hope to escape. •';'-•; ft;: i The record is sent to Scotland Yard, i •where some of, the experts examime it, ' note its. main characteristics, turn to the class to which it belongs, and find out whether they have in their possession an ~. identical print'taken at the time of the other crime two years before. But this is not the only use of the finger prints. A murder' takes place in a lonely house one night and the murderer I' ■:■ gets clear s 'awayl The next days before a ■\ * ; thing is touched Scotland Yard experts Jr " • ure-examining with magnifying glasses live doors,.-, the windows, the bed posts, 1 floor, the walls, and, indeed, every •-if-cesaible square inch .of surface within ; ft!ie death' chamber.'.' ~ k - They are indeed like bloodhounds on the trail. Presently, after perhaps two ;hours' work, they find that for which :%V;rJney; are in search. It is the half obliter- ; ' ated impression 'of a finger 'print on the bed post. ,By, ingenious means which f,"';, renders that faulty impression available * for the- camera'they, .obtain photographs Those photographs aref taken, to i \ Scotland Yard. - Here-the main points of the print arc' ": . carefully noted, and" the class to which,its map-like traceries belong is taken from ;.'.'• one of .those high'cupboards, and withinfive minutes Scotland Yard knows whether #V -the. murderer of the night before is a known criminal or a man' who has not ;'i- passed through prison.

This article text was automatically generated and may include errors. View the full page to see article in its original form.
Permanent link to this item

Bibliographic details

WHY BURGLARS ARE WEARING GLOVES., New Zealand Herald, Volume XLV, Issue 13757, 23 May 1908, Supplement

Word Count

WHY BURGLARS ARE WEARING GLOVES. New Zealand Herald, Volume XLV, Issue 13757, 23 May 1908, Supplement

  1. New formats

    Papers Past now contains more than just newspapers. Use these links to navigate to other kinds of materials.

  2. Hierarchy

    These links will always show you how deep you are in the collection. Click them to get a broader view of the items you're currently viewing.

  3. Search

    Enter names, places, or other keywords that you're curious about here. We'll look for them in the fulltext of millions of articles.

  4. Search

    Browsed to an interesting page? Click here to search within the item you're currently viewing, or start a new search.

  5. Search facets

    Use these buttons to limit your searches to particular dates, titles, and more.

  6. View selection

    Switch between images of the original document and text transcriptions and outlines you can cut and paste.

  7. Tools

    Print, save, zoom in and more.

  8. Explore

    If you'd rather just browse through documents, click here to find titles and issues from particular dates and geographic regions.

  9. Need more help?

    The "Help" link will show you different tips for each page on the site, so click here often as you explore the site.