Academic staff

HomeAcademic staffDr Stephen Bleay
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I joined LSBU in 2019 after nearly 25 years in the scientific civil service, firstly at the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency where I worked on radar absorbing ‘stealth’ materials and smart composites for use in aircraft structures, and latterly at the Home Office Centre for Applied Science and Technology where I became Senior Technical Specialist, primarily working within the Fingerprint Research Group. I have a BSc and PhD in Materials Science, both from the University of Bath, and am a Fellow of the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences and a Member of the Institute of Materials Minerals and Mining.

My main research interests are in the interactions that can occur between the environment, the surface and different types of trace evidence that may be deposited on it, bringing together my background in materials science and my more recent experience in forensic science. These interactions are critical in understanding whether trace evidence is likely to survive the conditions at a crime scene and subsequent environmental exposure, and better understanding the changes in chemical and physical properties that occur may lead to improved ways of recovering trace evidence exposed to extreme environments. I also have an interest in the use of advanced imaging techniques for the location and imaging of trace evidence.

I am an invited member of the International Fingerprint Research group and through collaborative networks formed from that membership have co-authored over 50 forensic science-related publications in peer-reviewed journals, am one of the principal authors of the world recognised Home Office Fingermark Visualisation Manual, and recently authored the text book ‘Fingerprint Development Techniques – Theory and Application’ published in 2018. I also act as a Forensic Advisor to the Defence Science & Technology Laboratory, and as a Technical Assessor for fingerprint laboratories for the UK Accreditation Service.

Courses taught

Forensic Sciences - BSc (Hons)

Postgraduate Research Supervision
Current
Miss Sarah Louise HicksDoctoral Research ProjectMRes

Awarded in the last 5 years
Kyprianou Georgiou PhD
Francesca Stubbs-HayesPhD
BSc (Hons) Materials Science : First Class

University of Bath

Claverton Down

BATH BA2 7AY

1984
1988
PhD Materials Science

University of Bath

Claverton Down

BATH BA2 7AY

1988
1991
MIMMM CEng

Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining (IoM3)

1991
FCSFS

Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences

2018
Senior Technical Specialist
Home Office Centre for Applied Science & Technology

Various roles, starting as a researcher in the Fingerprint research group, progressing to Functional Manager of the Chemistry Functional Home, responsible for technical strategy and management of 35 staff, 6 months as Acting Chief Technical Officer before finishing as a Senior Technical Specialist with independent research responsibilities.

2003
2018
Other public sector
Principal Scientist
QinetiQ (formerly the Defence Evaluation & Research Agency)

Technical lead for research into low observable materials and smart materials based on fibre-reinforced composites, and manufacture of novel fibre systems

1993
2003
Other public sector
Postdoctoral Research Officer
University of Bath

Contract research into wear of ceramic matrix composites, supervision and marking of undergraduate practical work.

1991
1993
Education
ProposalProjectRoleFunderStatusStatus last updated
Exeter University and QinetiQ Exeter University and QinetiQ Principal InvestigatorExeter UniversityOPEN In preparationSep 2022
Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining
1987
Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences
2007

Editorial/Advisory Board Member
2010
2022

Associate editor
2022
Applied Spectroscopy
Canadian Society of Forensic Science Journal
WIRes Forensic Science
Journal of Analytical Toxicology
Forensic Chemistry
UK Accreditation Service

Technical Assessor for fingerprint enhancement laboratories operated by police and other forensic providers against the ISO 17025 standard and the Forensic Science Regulator's Codes of Practice and Conduct

Non-education public sector
October 2015
October 2030
Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (Dstl)

Forensic Adviser providing advice on fingerprint development and related matters to former colleagues

Non-education public sector
November 2018
October 2030
Prizes, awards, and accolades

Innovator of the Year (Jul 2017)

Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (Dstl)

This was an award made for collaborative work between the Home Office CAST (where I was employed at the time), Dstl and Loughborough University in taking a novel chemical technique from a laboratory concept towards a commercially available piece of equipment for development of fingermarks on high priority surfaces (fired cartridge cases, knives). This is now available as the Foster + Freeman RECOVER process


P W Allen Prize (Nov 2015)

Chartered Society for Forensic Science

The PW Allen award is presented to the most meritorious paper published in Science & Justice each year.

The PW Allen Award is given in memory of Phillip W Allen. Phillip W Allen was Vice President of the Society from 1976-1978. Phillip was instrumental in bringing to market the first micro cameras. These were first used by the Metropolitan Police in the Spaghetti House Seige in the late 70's. The company continues to manufacture and sell a range of anti-terrorism equipment. They include explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) bomb search and detection; bomb technician tools; and Electronic Counter Measures (ECM) equipment used to stop remote detonation of bombs.

Awarded for the co-authored paper: S Cadd, M Islam, P Manson, S Bleay: Fingerprint composition and aging: A literature review, Science & Justice, 2015


Evidence to public body

Nov 2009

Engaged to provide expert advice on fingermark enhancement to the Inquiry team and presentation of oral evidence on findings to the Fingerprint Inquiry, Scotland

The Fingerprint Inquiry was a public inquiry set up by Scottish Government ministers under the Inquiries Act 2005 to look at the steps which were taken to identify and verify the fingerprints associated with the case of HM Advocate v McKie in 1999. The Inquiry was to determine the consequences of steps taken, report on findings of fact and make recommendations


Reach and Impact

Condom-detecting fingerprint test 'set for court use' (Oct 2017)


A comparative evaluation of the disulfur dinitride process for the visualisation of fingermarks on metal surfaces
Bleay, S, Kelly, P, King, R and Thorngate, S (2019). A comparative evaluation of the disulfur dinitride process for the visualisation of fingermarks on metal surfaces. Science and Justice. 59 (6), pp. 606-621. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scijus.2019.06.011

Visualising the past – An evaluation of processes and sequences for fingermark recovery from old documents
Bleay, S, Fitzgerald, L, Sears, V and Kent, T (2018). Visualising the past – An evaluation of processes and sequences for fingermark recovery from old documents. Science and Justice. 59 (2), pp. 125-137. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scijus.2018.10.005

The effect of DNA recovery on the subsequent quality of latent fingermarks: a pseudo-operational trial
Fieldhouse, S., Parsons, R., Bleay, S. and Walton-Williams, L. (2019). The effect of DNA recovery on the subsequent quality of latent fingermarks: a pseudo-operational trial. Forensic Science International. 307, p. 110076. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2019.110076

The visualisation on Pangolin scales using gelatine lifters
Smith, P A, Moorat, G, Reed, J A, Bleay, S, Amaral, M P, Chappell, B, Pamment, N and Plowman, C (2020). The visualisation on Pangolin scales using gelatine lifters. Forensic Science International. 313. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2020.110221

Visualisation of latent fingermarks on polymer banknotes using copper vacuum metal deposition: A preliminary study
Davis, L.W.L., Kelly, P.F, King, R.S.P and Bleay, S.M (2016). Visualisation of latent fingermarks on polymer banknotes using copper vacuum metal deposition: A preliminary study. Forensic Science International. 266, pp. e86-e92. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2016.05.037

Introduction: Fingerprint Development Techniques: Theory and Application
Bleay, SM, Croxton, RS and De Puit, M (2018). Introduction: Fingerprint Development Techniques: Theory and Application. in: Fingerprint Development Techniques: Theory and Application Chichester John Wiley & Sons Ltd. pp. 1-500

Commentary for Chapter 1: Mass Spectrometry Methods for the Recovery of Forensic Intelligence from Fingermarks
Bleay, S (2020). Commentary for Chapter 1: Mass Spectrometry Methods for the Recovery of Forensic Intelligence from Fingermarks. in: Francese, S (ed.) Emerging Technologies for the Analysis of Forensic Traces Springer.

Home Office Fingerprint Source Book
Bandey, H, Bleay, S, Bowman, V, Downham, R, Sears, V, Gibson, A, Selway, C, Ramadani, J and Ciuksza, T (2018). Home Office Fingerprint Source Book. London Home Office.

Assessing phosphomolybdic acid as a fingermark enhancement reagent
Davis, LWL, Bleay, SM and Kelly, PF (2018). Assessing phosphomolybdic acid as a fingermark enhancement reagent. Journal of Forensic Identification. 68 (2), pp. 257-280.

Fingermark visualisation on metal surfaces: An initial investigation of the influence of surface condition on process effectiveness
Pitera, M., Sears, V.G, Bleay, S.M and Park, S. (2018). Fingermark visualisation on metal surfaces: An initial investigation of the influence of surface condition on process effectiveness. Science and Justice. 58 (5), pp. 372-383. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scijus.2018.05.005

An evaluation of the effect of incorporating metal salts into 1,8 diazafluoren-9-one (DFO) formulations for fingermark enhancement
Mayse, K, Sears, VG, Nicolasora, N and Bleay, S (2019). An evaluation of the effect of incorporating metal salts into 1,8 diazafluoren-9-one (DFO) formulations for fingermark enhancement. Science and Justice. 59 (3), pp. 349-358. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scijus.2019.01.002

The influence of materials on fingermark enhancement
Downham, R and Bleay, S (2016). The influence of materials on fingermark enhancement. Materials World. 24.

Fingerprinting: the UK landscape: processes, stakeholders, and interactions
Earwaker, H C, Charlton, D and Bleay, S (2015). Fingerprinting: the UK landscape: processes, stakeholders, and interactions. Horsham, West Sussex Knowledge Transfer Network.

Dynamics and mechanism of the physical developer process for visualization of latent fingerprints on paper.
Coulston, J.L., Sears, V., Bleay, S. and Hillman, A. R. (2022). Dynamics and mechanism of the physical developer process for visualization of latent fingerprints on paper. Forensic Science International. 333, p. 111195. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2022.111195

Replacing Synperonic® N in the physical developer fingermark visualisation process: Pseudo-operational trial and parameter studies.
Cartledge, E.M., Guo, Z.Y., Bleay, S.M., Sears, V.G. and Hussey, L.J. (2021). Replacing Synperonic® N in the physical developer fingermark visualisation process: Pseudo-operational trial and parameter studies. Forensic Science International. 326, p. 110916. https://doi.org/S0379-0738(21)00236-X

The effect of corrosive substances on fingermark recovery: a pilot study
Bleay, S. and Masterson, A. (2021). The effect of corrosive substances on fingermark recovery: a pilot study. Science and Justice. 61 (5). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scijus.2021.07.004

Mechanistic insight into the fluorescence activity of forensic fingerprinting reagents.
Hunnisett, L., Kelly, P F, Bleay, S., Plasser, F., King, R, McMurchie, B. and Goddard, P. (2021). Mechanistic insight into the fluorescence activity of forensic fingerprinting reagents. The Journal of Chemical Physics. 154 (12), p. 124313. https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0040555

New light on old fingermarks: The detection of historic latent fingermarks on old paper documents using 1,2-indanedione/zinc
Bouzin, J., Merendino, J., Bleay, S., Sauzier, G. and Lewis, S. (2020). New light on old fingermarks: The detection of historic latent fingermarks on old paper documents using 1,2-indanedione/zinc. Forensic Science International: Reports. 2, p. 100145. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fsir.2020.100145

The forensic exploitation of fingermark chemistry: a review
Bleay, S., Bailey, M., Croxton, R. and Francese, S. (2020). The forensic exploitation of fingermark chemistry: a review. WIRes Forensic Science. https://doi.org/10.1002/wfs2.1403

Detection and mapping of illicit drugs and their metabolites in fingermarks by MALDI MS and compatibility with forensic techniques
Groeneveld, G., de Puit, M., Bleay, S., Bradshaw, R. and Francese, S. (2015). Detection and mapping of illicit drugs and their metabolites in fingermarks by MALDI MS and compatibility with forensic techniques. Scientific Reports. 5, p. 11716. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep11716