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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Finger Print Bureau was first established in Writer's Building at Calcutta in the year 1897

070. Finger Print Bureau was first established in:

1. England

2. China

3. India

4. Singapore


3. India


Parikh 6th Edition Page 2.15

Apoorva Nandy 1st Edition Page 92

Reddy 17th Edition Page 67






General Knowledge. A passing mention is given in textbooks. And this fact is NOT mentioned in Western Textbooks (please see below)


The idea that fingerprints as a means of identification was first given by Sir Wiliam Herschelle, Distt. Magistrate of Hooghly District of Bengal province in 1858. Later Dr. Henry Faults gave the idea of tracing a criminal from the latent prints found at the scene of crime and came to the conclusion that no two fingerprints are alike. Based on the idea of Herschelle and Faults, Sir Francis Galton, the renowned English Scientist established scientifically the basic principles of uniqueness and permanency in fingerprints.


It was then that Sir Edward Richard Henry, the IGP, Lower Bengal with the able assistance of two of his Indian officers viz. Khan Bahadur Azizul Haq and Rai Bahadur Hemchandra Bose developed a system of classification of fingerprints and thereby discarding the anthropometric system of identification. Thereafter the first ever Finger Print Bureau of the world was established at Writer's Building at Calcutta in the year 1897.


Key Dates in the History of Fingerprinting

Ä The distinctive nature of fingerprints has been known for centuries.

Ä The ancient Babylonians used fingerprint impressions to record business transactions and fingerprints were used on Chinese documents more than a thousand years ago. The scientific use of fingerprints to solve crime, however, started little more than a hundred years ago.

Ä 1858 Sir William Herschel, a British Administrator in Bengal, makes the first practical application of fingerprints for personal identification when he requires Indians to place their fingerprints as well as their signatures on contracts.

Ä 1880 Dr Henry Faulds, a doctor working in Tokyo, looks at the possibility of fingerprint science identifying criminals by the fingerprints left at the crime scene using printer's ink.

Ä 1892 Juan Vucetich, a police officer in Argentina, makes the first fingerprint identification from a crime scene, and opens the first fingerprint bureau in the world.

Ä 1892 English scientist Sir Francis Galton publishes an accurate and in-depth study of the fingerprint science, including an attempt at a system of fingerprint classification for large collections of fingerprints.

Ä 1897 Sir Edward Henry, Inspector General of Police in Bengal and later Commissioner of London's Metropolitan Police, with the assistance of two Bengali Police Officers, devises a simplified fingerprint classification system for police use and introduces it in India. The Henry system is the basis of most fingerprint systems in the English-speaking world.

Ä 1901 The Fingerprint Bureau is formed at New Scotland Yard.

Ä 1902 In Australia, Sam McCauley begins fingerprinting in NSW prisons and establishes a Fingerprint Bureau at Darlinghurst Gaol.

Ä 1903 NSW establishes the first State fingerprint bureau, followed by Victoria (1903), Queensland and South Australia (1904), Tasmania (1912), Western Australia (1928), the Northern Territory (1957) and the ACT (1967). In 1980 the Australian Federal Police incorporate the ACT fingerprint bureau.

Ä 1941 The NSW Fingerprint Bureau becomes the Central Fingerprint Bureau of Australia, a jointly-funded national fingerprint support service.

Ä 1957 The chemical Ninhydrin is used for the first time to develop fingerprints left on paper.

Ä 1986 The Central Fingerprint Bureau of Australia is replaced by the National Automated Fingerprint Identification System (NAFIS), a computerised national database based on scanning original ink fingerprints.

Ä 2001 Establishment of the new National Automated Fingerprint Identification System. The system commences operations with 2.4 million 'ten print' records, covering 24 million individual fingerprints and 4.8 million palm prints, and 180,000 latent prints from unsolved crime scenes.


It is disheartening to note that almost all the western source do not mention the name of the two Bengali Officers, nor do they mention that the first bureau was established in India. Western Bias ??!!


  1. Definitely both these names of unsung heros of fingerprinting technique from India must be brought to notice of all concerned. Being General Secretary of Indian Academy of Forensic Medicine, I will try to bring it to knowelgde of whole india as well as whole world. But for that I need some authentic documentation of that period or around that period. Will somebody do this favour and if anyone finds any document related with it; just email me at I will take care of the rest.


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