Something New Every Day – Lecture 13 – Handwriting and forgery analysis
When investigators need to get an exemplar (a sample of their writing) from a suspect who might have a vested interest in disguising their handwriting, two methods are used simultaneously to reduce the ability of the suspect to fake/disguise their handwriting.
First, investigators DICTATE the phrase they want written because a suspect can’t concentrate fully on what (or rather how) they’re writing while they’re also listening).
Second, they disguise the words they want to compare in a longer passage with a different context. For example, say you wanted to see the phrase ‘Put all your til money in a bag, I’m armed’ because that’s what was in a real crime note handed to a bank teller… investigators might ask the suspect to write out:
“Don’t put all your pens and pencils away til we collect up money for the excursion in a bag. I’mserious. Then make sure the alarm system is armed.”
And third, they make you write it twenty to fifty times, potentially different statements, to make it harder still to keep up a pretence.
‘Trails of Evidence: How Forensic Science Works” is a The Great Courses DVD lecture series