Author(s): Nicholas Vandenberg, Roland A H van Oorschot
Biological stains can be difficult to detect at crime scenes or on items recovered from crime scenes. The use of a versatile light source may assist in their detection. The ability of Polilights to locate potential semen, saliva, and blood stains on a range of substrates and at different dilutions was tested. We also tested the use of Polilights in comparison with conventional chemical-based presumptive screening tests such as acid phosphatase (AP), Phadebass, and luminol, often used in casework for detecting potential semen, saliva, and blood stains, respectively. The Polilights was able to locate stains that were not apparent to the naked eye. The color of the material on which a stain is deposited can have an effect on the detectibility of the stain. The Polilights was found to be comparable with the AP and Phadebass tests in terms of its sensitivity. In a comparative study between the AP test and Polilights on 40 casework exhibits, one false-negative result was observed when using the Polilights. On a series of mock casework exhibits it was determined that the Polilights can be used successfully to locate saliva stains for DNA analysis. The sensitivity of luminol for detecting potential bloodstains was greater than that of Polilights; however the Polilights has particular application in instances where a bloodstain may have been concealed with paint. Overall, the Polilights is a relatively safe, simple, noninvasive, and nondestructive technique suitable for use in forensic casework.