UV light is a fantastic forensic tool. Under UV light it is possible to identify evidence of bodily fluids such as blood and semen, watermarks, property tracers and also some drugs.
Unless you’re a Scene of Crime investigator you probably won’t need a high powered forensic light, but if you are working security or are a door supervisor a basic UV torch can still prove useful.
UV light will help detect counterfeit ID’s and currency (all of which have watermarks or images that fluoresce under UV light). The introduction of new legislation means that the retailer is now firmly responsible if something is sold to an underage customer, not the person attempting to break the law by using a fake ID. 2010 saw the law change to a Two Strikes and you’re out policy, meaning if you are caught selling age restricted products to a minor (particularly alcohol), twice in two months you could lose your licence. This now extends to serving someone who appears to be 18 but fails to produce a driver’s licence or other ID with a Hologram. A quick flash of a UV light will quickly identify a genuine ID or bank note over a fake.
UV lights can also be used to detect some types of drugs and drug use. Cocaine, amphetamines and Ecstasy tablets, powder and powder residue may not be immediately visible in normal light, but will fluoresce under UV.
Which drugs show up depends on the type and the purity. Cocaine that is of at least 87% purity, and amphetamines that are at least 78% pure are clearly fluorescent under UV. Some Ecstasy tablets, even small fragments are also visible, but not all – it depends on what ingredients have been used when making the pills. No light will determine what type of drug has been found, but the UV may give you an indication that drugs or paraphernalia are being used or brought onto your premises.
Property Markers and Tracers
Any property that has been marked with a UV pen or spray will also be identified using a UV light. Likewise anyone who has been sprayed with a self defence spray such as DMS or Defence ID will have UV tracers on their skin and clothes which will be picked up under UV light.
The Coast PX10 is a great torch for door work as it is dual function, white LED’s for reading, quick ID and visibility, and UV for detecting counterfeit ID’s or drugs and drug paraphernalia. Powered by 3 AAA batteries the PX10 has a run time of around 14 hours. Because it’s impact and water resistant it can withstand the rigours of a night on the door.