It is under trial by the West Yorkshire Police.
Researchers at Sheffield Hallam University’s Biomedical Research Centre (BMRC) have developed a new fingerprinting technology that can identify a user’s gender.
The new Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionisation Mass Spectrometry Imaging (MALDI-MSI) technology is currently being trialled by the West Yorkshire police and works by analysing proteins secreted in sweat with an 85% detection success.
Sensitive to minute concentrations of chemicals, the new technology is capable of detecting products including hair gels, condom lubricants and cleaning products.
It also detects whether a suspect consumed coffee or drugs prior to a crime.
Sheffield Hallam University forensic scientist Dr. Simona Francese said:"It is a valuable opportunity to be able to gather authentic evidence that demonstrates the efficiency of MALDI-MSI to be used in order to provide additional intelligence to the investigators in real casework.
West Yorkshire Police Identification Services Regional Head Neil Denison said the latest research presents an opportunity to enhance fingerprint capability beyond just identification.
"We may soon be able to accurately age fingermarks and by analysing the constituent parts of the finger impression, profile the habits of the offender," Denison added.