Police dig into soil to fight crime

Police brief criminologists about plans to establish a database of soil samples from the Gulf to help them trace the movements of criminals.

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ABU DHABI // Police have briefed criminologists from around the world about plans to establish a database of soil samples from the Gulf. They say the move will help them trace the movements of criminal suspects.

The officers, together with a scientist from UAE University, presented the outlines of their project to experts from Canada, Italy, Germany, Russia and the US at the Third International Soil Forensics Conference in Long Beach, California.

The conference from November 2 to 4 explained how the project began with a soil survey of the capital by the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi.

Police chiefs announced the scheme in August and said the database will also include information on pollen and water. It is scheduled to be completed next year.

Soil's colour, texture and mineral composition can provide vital clues to detectives seeking to trace the final movements of either a suspect or victim.

"The database will help in solving crimes because in any crime, soil and residue from the ground of the scene ends up on the person involved or on the victim, allowing investigators to determine where the crime had taken place," said Col Abdul Rahman al Hamadi, director of the forensic evidence department of Abu Dhabi police.