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What lies beneath…

“Describe it….don’t infer interpretation” Amber Butchart’s advice to police officers

…beneath our clothes we have our underwear and mostly we don’t forensically examine it but this is not how Amber Butchart sees it. She is a consultant forensic garment analyst for the UK police. Her background in vintage clothing allows her to date any clothing found with a dead body and she says underwear dates particularly well. Her skill and knowledge in recognising the age, construction and composition of clothing can add vital information in identifying a victim. As Butchart notes, “this has more social value than selling old clothes”. And curiously her methods of helping Crime Scene Officers describe clothing has a wider value. She educates them in the need to see items specifically and fairly; so no ‘ethnic’ used to describe everything from Indian Batik to Ghanain Kente. As she puts it “Describe it….don’t infer interpretation” . This seems pretty sound advice for everday life.

Amber Butchart: Consultant Forensic Garment Analyst