Tattoos are distinctive marks which can often help police identify a criminal. Even in the early history of the New Zealand Police, law enforcers recognised their importance in the process of criminal identification. In mug shot books from the late 19th century, New Zealand police would record detailed descriptions of the prisoners' tattoos alongside their pictures. What do you think these criminal tattoos might have looked like? Draw your ideas in the box next to their mug shots and tattoo descriptions.
Click here to read about other alternative methods of criminal identification which police experimented with in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Chelsea Nichols, 2010. Unless otherwise stated, all images and information found on this website are property of the New Zealand Police Museum.