(Received 28 April 2000; accepted 29 August 2000)
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The current emphasis on DNA technology in forensic science has led many to believe that trace evidence examinations, including fibers, may be of little value. Reasons are given here to show that this is an erroneous assumption. In the face of this situation, fibers examiners have been challenged to consider ways in which they can improve the services they offer to the Criminal Justice System not only by increasing the efficiency of the examinations, but also by expressing the evidential value of the findings in a clearer way. The separate stages within fibers casework from evidence collection to report writing are critically examined. Suggestions are made on how improvements may be achieved. Areas where particular progress can be made include improving communication and exchange of information between the investigator and the scientist and streamlining analysis by using the latest equipment in conjunction with effective case management. In addition, ways of making better use of existing data pertaining to fiber frequencies, accumulating new data by using the resources of working groups, and improving training procedures with respect to evidence interpretation are discussed.
Chairman, European Fibres Group, Research & Development, Metropolitan Laboratory, Forensic Science Service, London,
General secretary, European Fibres Group, KT33 Forensic Science Institute, German Federal Police Office, Wiesbaden,
Stock #: JFS15055J