Generally, the term "latent print" is used for all types of prints resulting from the transfer of small, hardly visible amounts of skin secretion and dirt. As the prints of the friction ridge pattern on the tip of the finger usually give the most important clues to the investigator, "latent prints" are almost equivalent to the fingerprint itself.
Other prints used as investigative leads are palm prints and foot prints. In some cases even the surface of a glove is known to have left a latent print which led to apprehension of a suspect.
In latent fingerprint investigation the hardly noticeable or completely invisible prints of the ridge pattern of the finger first have to be developed for primary examination. Fingerprints of possible culprits should then be lifted and preserved for identification.
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