Crime scene investigation


ESR forensic scientists are specialists in examining crime scenes.

They attend crime scenes nationwide 24 hours a day, seven days a week where they use a range of specialised techniques to detect biological and non-biological evidence for the NZ Police. The evidence is collected, analysed and the results used to reconstruct the sequence of events.

Our specialised crime scene investigation capabilities include:

Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

Bloodstain Pattern Analysis (BPA) is the science of studying the bloody aftermath of violent crime and accidents to help investigators gather evidence.

Find out more here (external link)

Or listen to Radio NZ sit in on an ESR research project into cranium gunshot modelling (external link)

Serious crime investigation

ESR's scientists assist the justice system to resolve cases like homicides, sexual assaults and serious
violent assaults by:

  • Detecting, collecting and preserving forensic evidence including blood, fibres, impressions, glass
    and fabric damage
  • Characterising evidence and interpreting the results through laboratory analysis
  • Reconstructing and representing events
  • Preparing reports and presenting evidence in court.
Laser scanning

ESR is using this new technology to record a crime scene, accurately measuring the position, size and orientation of evidence. Laser scanning can also superimpose complex evidence such as bloodstain patterns and bullet trajectories.

Find out more about our new scanner in this brochure [PDF, 1.8 MB]or read the media release and coverage

or by watching this video (external link)

Footwear and tyre impressions

Our scientists can identify impressions as belonging to a shoe or tyre through matching class (pattern) and individualising (damage) characteristics present on both the impression and shoe/tyre. They are experienced at preserving and/or recording impressions and enhancing faint impressions.

Firearms and toolmarks

ESR firearm investigation services include comparison of recovered projectiles and cartridges to identify the firearms that fired them; tracking of projectile trajectory; identifying residues associated with firing a firearm and estimating the distance between firearm and target. Our toolmark investigation services include comparing toolmarks at the scene with tools recovered from suspects.

Vehicle accident investigations

Our services include investigation of vehicles involved in traffic accidents. Our specialist staff can identify vehicles in a "hit and run" situation by means of paint transferred between vehicles; body filler; glass and car parts at the accident scene; fabric traces or impressions on a vehicle establishing exact place of impact. Our DNA profiling of blood and other trace evidence techniques assist driver identification; and we can provide analysis of the driver's blood for alcohol and drugs.