Dactyloscopy was the first method for identifying perpetrators based on scientific grounds, with its beginnings dating back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Initially, the Dactyloscopy Section managed the "central record of general and monodactyloscopy, records of palm prints from serious offenders, and a record of fingerprints found at crime scenes." Today, the records are kept within the AFIS, while the section also acts as a repository for the legally defined record of persons from whom dactyloscopic data were acquired. In addition to identifying the perpetrators and victims of criminal offences, the section is also the contact point for the international exchange of dactyloscopic data (traces and fingerprints) with 20 signatory states in accordance with the requirements of the Prüm Treaty.

The section's activities are divided into three work fields: The first field concerns the procedures for the trace lifting of papillary line prints from crime scenes and other incidents. Trace lifting is carried out in accordance with accredited methods (with cyanoacrylate esters, ninhydrin or DFO). Our experts visualise the traces with forensic light sources and various dactyloscopic powders.


The second work field encompasses the dactyloscopic comparison of papillary line prints with papillary line prints, and of papillary line prints with papillary line traces. Comparison is carried out according to the ACE-V method: analysis of traces and prints, comparison of the material in question with the comparison sample, evaluation of the findings, and verification by a second expert.

Establishing and verification of the identity of persons and corpses is the third field of work. The identity is verified on the basis of the comparison of papillary lines and dactyloscopic data acquired from persons and corpses. Because papillary lines are also found on soles, the section can also carry out examinations and comparisons of this kind. In the event of mass emergencies, the section is partially in charge of and coordinates the identification procedures of the police.