• Assistant Professor
  • Department of Forensic Science

Edmond Locard, a French criminologist, AKA Sherlock Holmes of France, formulated a principle stating that “every contact leaves a trace”. The Pioneer explained that whenever two entities come in contact with each other there will be always mutual exchange of trace materials between them. Soon the global scientist community accepted the law and announced it as ‘Principle of Exchange’. Locard’s principle of exchange is another term for this law. Locard studied law at the Institute of Legal Medicine, before leading the forensic lab in Lyon, France. He served as an assistant to forensic pioneer Alexandre Lacassagne. During World War I (1914-1918), Locard’s techniques proved crucial to the French Secret Service, as he was able to establish where troops and prisoners had died by inspecting stains on their uniforms.

This principle soon became inevitable aspect of the subject ‘Forensic Science’. Forensic science is a branch of science that deals with the application of all the basic scientific methods for the purpose of solving crimes and delivering justice. It acts as a bridge for the victims to reach the ultimate destination of justice.

Crime scene is described as a place where an offence has been taken place. Forensic science involves and includes analysis of evidences found on crime scene which aids in criminal justice system. Foremost part of it entails crime scene investigation which incorporate searching, collection and packaging of evidences for analysis segment. The police and detectives are only given parts of a puzzle after a crime has been committed. The forensic team uses trace evidence—i.e., the evidence the perpetrator left at the crime scene—to help piece together the jigsaw. This can include anything from hair to fibres to clothing to blood to fingerprints and more.

Analysis of crime scene helps to establish the connection between criminal and victim. Whenever the perpetrator encounters a place, an element of proof is exchanged with the surroundings or with the victim due to coming into contact with each other. For instance if the scene of crime is a deserted bungalow where an individual(A) breach into the premises by defenestration with the intention of committing theft, swapping of numerous trace elements will transpire. Footprint, fingerprint, hair of A might get deposited at different locations inside bungalow whereas shards of glass might deposit on the clothes of A. These exchange of trace materials act as evidences and Analysis as well as examination of these evidences conclude to prove A guilty of offence. Without exchange of trace materials between two entities, which are coming in contact, there will be no evidences present at crime scene hence examination will totally be dependent only on the statement of witnesses which is impressionable. Principle of exchange is the understructure of forensic science without which it cannot stand tall.

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