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Law

Fingerprint officer

Fingerprint officers work to identify fingerprints taken from crime scenes.

Annual Salary

£18,000 to £30,000

Average UK salary in 2022 was £33,200
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

42 to 44 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends / bank holidays; at short notice

0.2%
Future employment

There will be 0.2% fewer Fingerprint officer jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

As a fingerprint officer, you could:

  • attend crime scenes to collect fingerprint evidence
  • take prints from bodies at incident scenes or in a mortuary
  • compare prints with those of suspects
  • scan police fingerprint forms into national fingerprint database systems
  • analyse prints and marks to uncover links between crime scenes
  • work with forensic staff to collect traces of other evidence left by fingerprints
  • eliminate prints to rule out people not under suspicion
  • classify records and maintain fingerprint databases
  • prepare and present evidence for investigators and for court
  • attend training on new fingerprint methods and technology

Working environment

You may need to wear protective clothing.

You could work in a laboratory.

Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • applying directly
University

You could give yourself an advantage by doing a relevant degree in:

  • forensic science
  • criminology
  • applied science
  • chemistry
  • biology

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
For more information
Direct application

Each police service sets its own entry requirements, but to start as a trainee fingerprint officer you'll often need one or more of the following:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) including maths, English and a science subject
  • A levels or equivalent qualifications
  • experience of working in the police service

Police services will carry out checks into your background and employment history. This might also include checks on your close family members.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

Career tips

Some knowledge of forensic and photographic techniques is helpful though not essential.

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With experience, you could become a senior fingerprint officer or scientific support manager. With further training, you could become a scenes of crime officer (SOCO), or move into forensics or criminal intelligence work.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • the ability to work on your own
  • legal knowledge including court procedures and government regulations
  • the ability to learn through your work
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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