Chemical Criminalistics

The Chemical Criminalistics Unit provides specialized forensic analysis for ignitable liquids, explosives and a range of trace evidence including gunshot residue. Our purpose-designed laboratory features: 

  • dedicated search and microscope suites
  • modern instrumentation with extensive analytical capabilities
  • specialist chemical warfare agent analysis laboratory
  • dedicated gunshot residue testing suite

The unit is staffed by highly trained scientific experts who: 

  • examine intricate forensic trace evidence samples from a wide range of criminal investigations including arson, homicide, kidnapping, serious assault, sexual assault, gang-related and organized crime, and terrorism incidents 
  • produce highly informative reports on casework findings
  • provide expert evidence on all elements of forensic trace investigations

The ignitable liquids & explosives team are members of the National Chemical Warfare Agent Laboratories Network.  We analyse fire scene debris for possible ignitable liquid residues as well as offering:

  • collection kits for analysis of ignitable liquid residues from scenes and the hands of suspects.
  • analysis and identification of trace and bulk explosives, propellants and pyrotechnics.
  • analysis and identification of riot control agents.
  • analysis of suspected chemical warfare agents.

The trace evidence team analyses and interprets a range of evidence types including fibres, paint, and glass in addition to gunshot residue analysis and interpretation of evidence relating to firearms chemistry including:

  • analysis of samples from the hands and clothing of suspects of shooting incidents.
  • comparison of gunshot residue composition from suspect samples with related fired cartridge cases

The unit has capability to analyse miscellaneous materials including tapes, plastics, adhesives, cosmetic traces and lubricants as well as assisting with identification of unknown chemicals and materials.

Our experts provide training to NSW Police Force, the NSW Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and other government departments encompassing all areas of chemical criminalistics.

If you would like any more information please contact Cath Garrard (02) 9646 0222.