The Trauma Imaging Group Forensic Radiography Committee (TIGFR) was founded in the United Kingdom in 1998. In 2004 TIGFR combined with the UK Northern Region Radiography Response Team and the UK Military Radiographers Forensic Team to establish the Association of Forensic Radiographers (AFR). AFR was formally constituted in 2005. In recognition of an increasingly international membership, the Association formally changed its name to the International Association of Forensic Radiographers (IAFR) in 2008.
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IAFR has been formally recognised by the International Society of Radiographers and Radiologic Technologists (ISRRT) and the UK Society and College of Radiographers (SCoR) as the lead body in the following areas:
- Promoting awareness of forensic radiography and related issues
- Provision and facilitation of training and education in the forensic field
- As the contact point for initiation of a Radiography Response Team in the event of a Mass Fatality Incident, including provision of diagnostic imaging equipment for immediate deployment to an incident
- Provision of advice and resources for individuals and organisations which have a need for professional expertise
- Provision of health and safety advice in the planning of temporary mortuaries, including risk assessments with particular regard to radiation protection, COSHH and manual handling issues
- Development and review of guidelines for evidence-based practice in forensic radiography
- Inter-professional and multi-organisational liaison and communication.
The majority of IAFR members have clinical backgrounds and therefore specialise in the imaging of human subjects. However, X-rays can also be used for the imaging of a wide range of artefacts - from documents, paintings and antiques to vehicles and suspect packages in forensic investigation. Due to the non invasive nature of the evidence investigation, X-ray powder diffraction and fluoroscopy can also be used in trace analysis such as glass fragments, fibres, hair, paint flecks and soil.
IAFR members have been involved in incidents on both a national and international level. In the United Kingdom, these include investigation into the London bombings, the Selby rail crash and Lockerbie air disaster. International deployments have included investigations in Bosnia, Kosovo, Croatia, Republic of Ireland, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka and India.
IAFR provides a consultancy service to the UK Home Office, the UK Ministry of Defence, UK police forces, UK Department of Health, the UK National Health Service, United Nations and other organisations on forensic imaging of the living and deceased.
In the past the radiographic response to mass fatality incidents in the UK was ad hoc. The IAFR has established a systematic process that ensures the availability of a response team (UKFRRT) to provide forensic radiography services in such situations without draining the local resources. This process includes the nomination of a response co-ordinator with access to a large database of radiographers available at any point in time. The UK response team (UKFRRT) is now an integral part of the UK Disaster Victim Identification Team. (UKDVI)