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Crime Scene Protection with DuPont™ Tyvek®

For over 40 years, DuPont, manufacturer of protective materials Tyvek®, Tychem®, Kevlar® and Nomex®, has worked with emergency services the world over to help provide protective clothing solutions for a diverse range of applications.

Now that even the smallest amount of biometric evidence can affect a prosecution, the prevention of crime scene contamination by evidence gatherers is critical if the evidence chain is to stand up in court. Lightweight, breathable coveralls made of DuPont™ Tyvek® are therefore used extensively by police scientific support services to help provide two-way protection in crime scene investigations.

Tyvek® is lightweight but strong, and water-resistant but breathable. Helping provide protection against biological substances, water-based chemicals, liquid splashes, dry particulate hazards and dirt, coveralls made of Tyvek® are ideal for use across a wide range of scientific support applications.

Thames Valley SOCOs

Scenes of Crime Officers (SOCOs) at Thames Valley Police Service have used the protection of Tyvek® protective garments for many years. Doron Jensen, Senior Scenes of Crime Officer, explains, "For officers involved in the collection and preservation of forensic and photographic evidence, wearing protective apparel is standard practice. Evidence gatherers are required to don coveralls, masks, gloves and overshoes before they enter any crime scene. This is to reduce the risk of any additional skin cells, hair or clothing fibres from entering the vicinity and to help protect the wearer from the risk of exposure to biological substances, dirt and liquid splashes."

The design, fit and comfort of a protective garment should not be overlooked when selecting protective apparel. As Doron points out, "SOCOs spend a lot of time bending down and kneeling so the design of the suit needs to cater for a great deal of movement."

Roger Shearn, who was Scientific Support Manager for Territorial Policing in London at the Metropolitan Police Service for 40 years, explains, "There can be no element of doubt where scientific support is provided – continuity of evidence is the biggest challenge of modern day policing. When selecting a protective coverall for gathering forensic evidence, a number of factors should be taken into consideration, the most important of which are the best possible protection of the scene and the best protection of the wearer. Thankfully, modern day garment manufacturers like DuPont have developed materials such as Tyvek®, which not only helps provide superb two-way barrier against cross-contamination, it is low-linting, lightweight and comfortable to wear for longer periods."

Full range of protective garments

Utilizing years of research and development and a strong understanding of emergency responders’ requirements, technical experts at DuPont have designed several variations of the coverall made of Tyvek® to address different needs. From the single model introduced in the 1990s, the offering of Tyvek® has now successfully extended to a full range of garment models and accessories. These products offer various degrees of barrier protection, dependent on the requirement.

Category III Tyvek® garments provide high levels of protection for the crime scene, for SOCOs and photographers. Tychem® C material helps offer protection against a range of chemicals, and Tychem® F and Tychem® TK materials are suitable for protecting people involved in the investigation of CBRN incidents (when worn with other, compatible PPE).

Due to their unique combination of properties, chemical protective garments made of Tyvek® have been among market leaders of Type 5 & 6 disposable protective garments in Europe for the last 15 years. Garments made of Tyvek® have high levels of comfort, a well-designed fit and are breathable, to help reduce the risk of heat stress when the heat is on.