SAQA All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.
SOUTH AFRICAN QUALIFICATIONS AUTHORITY 
REGISTERED UNIT STANDARD: 

Demonstrate an understanding of the field of fingerprinting 
SAQA US ID UNIT STANDARD TITLE
244158  Demonstrate an understanding of the field of fingerprinting 
ORIGINATOR
SGB Forensic Science 
PRIMARY OR DELEGATED QUALITY ASSURANCE FUNCTIONARY
-  
FIELD SUBFIELD
Field 08 - Law, Military Science and Security Safety in Society 
ABET BAND UNIT STANDARD TYPE PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL CREDITS
Undefined  Regular  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
REGISTRATION STATUS REGISTRATION START DATE REGISTRATION END DATE SAQA DECISION NUMBER
Reregistered  2018-07-01  2023-06-30  SAQA 06120/18 
LAST DATE FOR ENROLMENT LAST DATE FOR ACHIEVEMENT
2024-06-30   2027-06-30  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This unit standard does not replace any other unit standard and is not replaced by any other unit standard. 

PURPOSE OF THE UNIT STANDARD 
On completion of this unit standard the learner will understand the elementary principles underlying the field of fingerprinting in forensic investigations.

The learner will know the print types, characteristics and patterns that are used in forensic fingerprint investigations in order to establish identity. This unit standard will also provide the learner with the fundamental principles of fingerprint comparison and provide a foundation for understanding how such evidence can support an investigation and contribute to serving justice by being admissible in a court of law.

A person credited with this unit standard will be able to:
  • Explain the elementary principles of fingerprinting as identification method.
  • Explain the elementary principles of fingerprint classification.
  • Explain the methods used in fingerprint examination. 

  • LEARNING ASSUMED TO BE IN PLACE AND RECOGNITION OF PRIOR LEARNING 
  • "Demonstrate an understanding of forensic science", ID 242712.
  • "Demonstrate an understanding of the specialised fields in forensic science", ID 242708.
  • Communication at NQF Level 4. 

  • UNIT STANDARD RANGE 
    N/A 

    Specific Outcomes and Assessment Criteria: 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 1 
    Explain the elementary principles of fingerprinting as identification method. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    The use of fingerprints for identification purposes is described according to the history of fingerprinting. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    The history of fingerprinting refers to but is not limited to:
  • The development of fingerprinting by William Herschel, Henry Fauld, Francis Galton, Dr Juan Vuchetich, Sir Edward Richard Henry and also refers to the development of fingerprinting in South Africa, uniqueness and age.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    Elementary human physiology of fingerprints and palm prints is described in relation to forensic investigations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Elementary human physiology refers to but is not limited to:
  • Friction skin, friction ridges, skin layers, poroscopy, ridgeology, sweat, palm prints and foot prints.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Types of prints are explained according to their characteristics used in identification methods. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Types of prints refer to but are not limited to:
  • Plain (flat) impressions, rolled impressions, thumb prints, palm prints, fingerprints, foot prints, animal and latent prints.

    Latent print refers to all prints made by friction skin whether visible or invisible.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    Fingerprint patterns and features are described in context to identification purposes. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Fingerprint patterns refer to but are not limited to: arches, loops, whorls and composites.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 5 
    Ridge features are described according to the fundamental principles of fingerprinting. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Ridge pattern characteristics refers to but are not limited to:
  • Cores, deltas, scars, beginning and ending of ridges, bifurcation of ridges, trifurcation of ridges, islands, short ridges, lakes in ridges, spur, cross-over, overlap, poroscopy, edgeoscopy and permanent scars.
     

  • SPECIFIC OUTCOME 2 
    Explain the elementary principles of fingerprint classification. 
    OUTCOME RANGE 
    Fingerprint refers to but is not limited to:
  • All friction skin impressions, such as palm, foot, fingerprints. 

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Types of fingerprints are identified in order to classify fingerprints. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Fingerprints refer to but are not limited to:
  • Prints of thumbs, index finger, middle finger, ring finger and little finger.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    Fingerprint classification is explained in relation to the analysis of fingerprints for identification purposes. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Fingerprint classification refers to but is not limited to:
  • Ridge counting, ridge tracing and primary, secondary and sub-secondary classification, 10-fingerprint classification.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Conditions causing abnormal fingerprint characteristics are explained according to the affect on fingerprint classification. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Conditions refer to but are not limited to:
  • Carring (permanent and temporary), split thumbs, connected fingers, superfluous fingers, skin creases, skin conditions (diseases, occupational conditions) and congenital conditions.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    The identification of fingerprints are explained according to criteria for individualizing fingerprints. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Criteria refer to but are not limited to:
  • 7-point system, ridgeology, poroscopy, ridge counting, ridge features, shape, size, directions, distortion, and relation to each other.
     

  • SPECIFIC OUTCOME 3 
    Explain the methods used in fingerprint examination. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Methods used to detect latent prints on an incidence scene are explained in context to forensic investigations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Methods refer to but are not limited to:
  • Visual examination (light sources), chemical investigation (reagents), physical examination (brushes and powders) and any combination of the above.

    Latent print refers to all prints made by friction skin whether visible or invisible.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    Methods used to record latent prints are explained in context to forensic investigations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Record refers to but is not limited to:
  • Photography (all types), scan, fingerprint lifter (such as scotch tape, folien).

    Latent print refers to all prints made by friction skin whether visible or invisible.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Methods used to preserve and store latent prints identified on a scene of incidence are explained in context to forensic investigations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Methods refer to but are not limited to:
  • Photography, electronic (DVDs, CDs, database, digital photographs, storage devices) and physical methods (negatives and photographs, physical folien scotch tape, actual exhibit with fingerprint) and automated fingerprint identification systems databases.
     


  • UNIT STANDARD ACCREDITATION AND MODERATION OPTIONS 
  • Any individual who wishes to be assessed against this unit standard (including assessment of RPL) may apply to an assessment agency, assessor or provider institution accredited by the relevant ETQA, or with an ETQA that has a Memorandum of Understanding with the relevant ETQA.
  • Anyone assessing a learner against this unit standard must be registered as an assessor with the relevant ETQA, or with an ETQA that has a Memorandum of Understanding with the relevant ETQA. Assessors must be competent in the outcome of the Unit Standard.
  • Any institution offering learning that will enable achievement of this unit standard or assessing this unit standard must be accredited as a provider with the relevant ETQA or with an ETQA that has a Memorandum of Understanding with the relevant ETQA.
  • Moderation of assessment will be conducted by the relevant ETQA according to the moderation guidelines in the relevant qualification and the relevant ETQA procedures. 

  • UNIT STANDARD ESSENTIAL EMBEDDED KNOWLEDGE 
  • Current and as amended Section 205 of the Criminal Procedure Act (Act 51 of 1977) as substituted by Section 11 of the General Law Sixth Amendment Act (Act 204 of 1993).
  • Current and as amended Civil Proceedings Evidence Act (Act 25 of 1965).
  • Current and as amended Section 212 (4) (a) of the Criminal Procedure Act (Act 51 of 1977).
  • Current and as amended Inquests Act (Act 58 of 1959).
  • Current relevant occupational health and safety legislation. 

  • UNIT STANDARD DEVELOPMENTAL OUTCOME 
    N/A 

    UNIT STANDARD LINKAGES 
    N/A 


    Critical Cross-field Outcomes (CCFO): 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO IDENTIFYING 
    Identify and solve problems in which responses display that responsible decisions, using critical thinking, have been made. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO WORKING 
    Work effectively with others as a member of a team, group, organisation or community. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO COLLECTING 
    Collect, analyse, organise and critically evaluate information. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO COMMUNICATING 
    Communicate effectively using visual, mathematical, and/or language skills in the modes of written and/or oral presentation. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO SCIENCE 
    Use science and technology effectively and critically, show responsibility towards the environment and the health of others. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO DEMONSTRATING 
    Demonstrate an understanding of the world as a set of related systems by recognising that problem-solving contexts do not exist in isolation. 

    UNIT STANDARD ASSESSOR CRITERIA 
    N/A 

    REREGISTRATION HISTORY 
    As per the SAQA Board decision/s at that time, this unit standard was Reregistered in 2012; 2015. 

    UNIT STANDARD NOTES 
    Glossary of Terminology:
  • Arch: Ridges that flow from one side to the other without making an independent curve without any delta and core lines.
  • Connected fingers: Fingers that are connected.
  • Delta: The delta can be formed in two ways: by the bifurcation (forking) of a single ridge or by the abrupt divergence of two ridges that had run side by side. (Henry, 1901).
  • Fingerprints: A reproduction of the ridge surface of the first nail joint of any finger.
  • Foot prints: The reproduction of the ridge surface of any foot and includes the toes.
  • Friction ridges: Minute ridges that run in parallel lines and form various patterns on the skin covering the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet are called friction ridges.
  • Latent prints: An invisible fingerprint deposited by sweat and perspiration.
  • Loop: Ridge line of a fingerprint that enters and exits the pattern from the same side.
  • Palm prints: A reproduction of the ridge surface of the palm of any hand.
  • Poroscopy: The study of the sweat pores in skin.
  • Primary classification: Primary classification is the added numerical values contributed to the whorls of a fingerprint according to their positions on the fingerprint.
  • Ridge pattern: Ridge endings, bifurcations, enclosures and other detail that is identified form a fingerprint in order to determine the identity.
  • Ridgeology: The evaluative process of fingerprint identification that is not dependant on a minimum threshold value.
  • Secondary classification: Secondary classification is determined by the index fingerprint patterns of both hands.
  • Split thumbs: It is when a person has more than ten fingers due to the fact that the thumb is split into two.
  • Sub-secondary classification: Sub-secondary classification is determined by counting the ridges of all whorls and loops and assigning ZIMOXYS symbols.
  • Superfluous fingers: It is when a person has more than ten fingers.
  • Whorl: Ridge pattern that are rounded or circular in shape and have two deltas. 

  • QUALIFICATIONS UTILISING THIS UNIT STANDARD: 
      ID QUALIFICATION TITLE PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL STATUS END DATE PRIMARY OR DELEGATED QA FUNCTIONARY
    Elective  57651   National Certificate: Forensic Science  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5  Reregistered  2023-06-30  SAS SETA 
    Elective  66869   National Certificate: Home Affairs Services  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5  Reregistered  2023-06-30  PSETA 
    Elective  61729   National Diploma: Policing  Level 6  NQF Level 06  Reregistered  2023-06-30  SAS SETA 


    PROVIDERS CURRENTLY ACCREDITED TO OFFER THIS UNIT STANDARD: 
    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.
     
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    2. STRATEGIC INVESTIGATIONS AND SEMINARS 



    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.