Ken Wiggins received the ENFSI Distinguished Forensic Scientist Award 2006.
Ken left school at the age of 17 and went to work at the Lister Institute of Preventative Medicine where he helped to produce blood proteins. In 1970 he joined the Metropolitan Police Forensic Science Laboratory (MPFSC) and, after basic training, he worked in the Biochemistry Section. It was during his early years at the MPFSL that he attended college and achieved a Higher National Certificate in Applied Biology. Ken stayed in the Biochemistry Section for six years and ended up running the section before he left to join the Fibres Section. During his 20 years in this section he took over the running of the Fibres Technical Support Group. In 1996 the MPFSL merged with the Forensic Science Service and he moved to the newly formed Analytical Services Unit. In 1998 Janet Thompson, the Director General, decided he should move to the Research and Development Group where he became the Fibres Consultant. Ken remained in the R&D Group until he took early retirement from the FSS in January 2006.
It was in 1993 that Ken and Mike Grieve set up the European Fibre Group (EFG) and Ken retained the position of Chairman from the beginning through to his retirement. Also in 1993 Ken was invited to join the FBI sponsored Technical Working Group for Fibre Examination (TWGFIBE) which eventually become known as the Scientific Working Group for Materials (SWGMAT). Ken served on the committee for colour analysis thus helping to complete the Forensic Fibre Examination Guidelines in 1998.
In 2001 the EFG produced The Manual of Best Practice for Forensic Examination of Fibres with much of the organisation, planning and writing being carried out by Ken and Mike Grieve. It was in 2003, at the EAFS meeting in Istanbul, that Ken and his colleagues on the EFG sub-committee received the ENFSI Working Group Award for the production of the Manual. The Manual has been used, and is still being used, as a template for other ENFSI Working Groups to produce their own manuals.
Ken was also a member of the ENFSI Quality Assurance Liaison Group as EFG representative from 1999 to 2004. In addition he was nominated by the other ENFSI Working Group Chairmen to be their representative on the ENFSI Working Group Committee from 2002 until his retirement in 2006. Since 1993 Ken has attended between 35 and 40 international meetings in Europe, North America and Asia. He has lectured in England, Scotland, Netherlands, France, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Switzerland, Portugal, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Turkey, USA and Japan and carried out accreditation work in the Netherlands, Finland and Sweden.
In addition to the ENFSI Working Group Award received in Istanbul in 2003 he has received the Mike Grieve Memorial Award (for the best presentation) EFG Meeting, Prague, Czech Republic 2004 and a Commemorative Certificate and Plaque from the Director of the Forensic Institute Prague, Czech Republic (for his EFG work) in 2003.
Ken’s main area of interest in fibre analysis has been the analysis of colour. Hardly surprising as he has always been known for his brightly coloured T-shirts and the colourful ties he wears (though not together). In recent years he has spent time trying to advise colleagues worldwide about the importance of fibre intelligence and he has supported scientists in the FSS in solving some very high profile cases in this area.
He started writing scientific papers in 1978 and continued until his retirement. Over forty internal and externally published papers have been written on fibres in this time. The papers have been written with the help of many colleagues but in particular Peveline Drummond. Peveline has been trained and mentored during her fibre career by Ken and has just been awarded the Emerging Forensic Scientist Award.
Although now retired from the FSS, he has been inundated with requests to help various people with defence work, training, consultancy at universities, accreditation and with ideas for new equipment. These are areas he hopes to continue to work in in the future.
Both SWGMAT and the EFG have invited him to attend their meetings to say a formal goodbye. However, after the SWGMAT meeting he agreed to stay on as a corresponding member and also continues to assist the EFG’s new chairperson.
Finally it is truly a great honour to receive the Distinguished Forensic Scientist Award after being nominated by colleagues in the EFG who have become real friends over the years. What better time to receive it, knowing that the previous winner was not only the best forensic fibre expert in the world, but also his best friend.
Additions by the website editor: Unfortunately Ken Wiggins died after a short period of illness in October 2009.
- K.G.Wiggins, J-A Holness and B.M. March – The Importance of TLC and UV Microspectrophotometry in the Analysis of Reactive Dyes Released from Wool and Cotton Fibers. FSS Report No RR837 2004 – J.Forensic.Sci.2005: 50(2); 364-368.
- K.G.Wiggins and P.Drummond – The Analysis and Comparison of Blue Wool Fibre Populations Found at Random on Clothing – FSS Report No RR838 2004 – Science & Justice 45 (3) 2005, 157-162.
- G.Massonnet, P.Buzzini, G.Jochem, M.Stauber, T.Coyle, C.Roux, J.Thomas, H.Leijenhorst, Z.Van Zenten, K.Wiggins, C.Russell, S.Chabli, A.Rosengarten – Evaluation of Raman Spectroscopy for the Analysis of Colored Fibers: A Collaborative Study
FSS Report No RR840 – J.Forensic Sci. 2005 V50 (5) Sept. 1028-1038
- K.G.Wiggins and J-A Holness – A Further Study of Dye Batch Variation in Textile and Carpet Fibres – FSS Report No RR839, Science & Justice Vol.45 (2005) 93-96.
- K.Wiggins, S.Day, P.Drummond and L.Feasby – An Investigation into the Value of Using Transmitted Light Microspectrophotometry as a Technique for Ink Analysis – FSS Report No. RR846, 2005.
- Ken Wiggins, Peveline Drummond and Jeff Adams – Validation and Evaluation of the J&M MSP 800 Microspectrophotometer for use in Forensic Textile Fibre Examination. Part 2: UV Wavelength Range – FSS Report No. TN895, 2005.
- Kenneth G. Wiggins and Julie-Ann Holness – A Study in Relation to the Effect of Processes used in the Dyeing Industry on the Finished Article – FSS Report No. RR853.
- C.Russell, T.Coyle and K.Wiggins – An Assessment of Raman Spectroscopy as a Comparison Tool for the Analysis of Dyed Fibres – FSS Report No. RR 856.