An infra-red photographic technique is being developed in the UK to help Police determine whether a suspect has had a tattoo altered or removed: Change your tattoo at your peril if you have criminal intent. Tattoos are, of course, nice and distinct and are often used to identify people – there aren’t the usual cross-racial identification problems or other problems associated with witness trauma because tattoos are so often compelling to the eye. Preliminary investigations suggest that infra red examination of the skin can show up what has happened to the otherwise non-visible dermis, such as tattooing, surgery or laser treatment. Using IR cameras to take photos of suspects will of course speed up the entire process, which is always good when the Police are investigating crimes, usually against the clock.
If it works it could be very useful but I have to ask, if a criminal is sharp enough to know that their tattoos could be used to identify them, you’d think they’d go to appropriate lengths to ensure they’re covered up during the commission of a crime. Still, I guess there will always be the occasion when someone sees themselves on Crimestoppers or Police 10-7.