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22 May 2014

INTERPOL meeting puts document security under the microscope

LYON, France - Examining microscopic differences in written works and ink age to identify if, how and when a document was forged or falsified is the focus of an INTERPOL project aimed at developing global protocols and procedures.

The ‘Physical-Chemistry Study of Line Crossings’ project, developed during the past two years by INTERPOL’s Counterfeit and Security Documents Branch in partnership with the International Academy for Handwriting and Documents (L’Académie Internationale des Experts en Ecriture et Documents - AIEED) has been presented to nearly 50 forensic document examiners from 25 countries attending a working group meeting at the INTERPOL General Secretariat headquarters.

The project outlines newly developed techniques to examine where two lines cross to identify any ‘physical’ differences in written works such as visible and invisible migration of inks, and in the ‘chemistry’ which show the chemical composition of inks, demonstrating additions or changes may have been made to the original document.

Following thousands of experiments, it was determined that ink used at different time intervals will react differently when examined under certain conditions. The project provides a proposed methodology which will enable investigators around the world to conduct examinations at a globally accepted standard.

This new approach is aimed at assisting criminal investigations into the age-old problem of forgery, such as falsifying identity documents, wills or even suicide notes, where previous chemical-based techniques often resulted in the destruction of the evidence.

“The smallest detail can have significant consequences in an investigation,” said Glyn Lewis, Director of INTERPOL’s  Specialized Crime and Analysis unit.

“This project is part of INTERPOL’s ongoing commitment to work with member countries and specialist organizations to identify and develop tools which will provide added value to national and international investigations,” concluded Mr Lewis.

During the two-day (21 and 22 May) working group meeting, delegates will also take part in practical demonstrations of the technique.

The 25 participating countries: Algeria, Canada, Croatia, France, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iraq, Islamic Republic of Iran, Kenya, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Morocco, Niger, Peru, Poland, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Slovakia, Tanzania, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United States and Zimbabwe.