Enhancing identification of witness composites
This programme of research is investigating procedures for combining and enhancing the effectiveness of composites from eyewitnesses.
Facial composites have an important role to play in modern policing. They are constructed by witnesses and victims of crime when the identity of a perpetrator is unknown. There are various systems available to create a likeness of the face—feature, sketch and holistic (Frowd et al., 2005)—with considerable research dedicated to methods that create the most identifiable likeness (e.g., Fodarella et al., 2021; Frowd et al., 2012b, 2015; Richardson et al., 2020; Skelton et al., 2019; see Frowd, 2021 for a review).
Research also considers facilitating identification of composites once the face has been created by an eyewitness. There are a range of procedures for facial enhancement, such as by presenting the face as a dynamic caricature (Frowd et al., 2007, 2012a), as a stretched image (Frowd et al., 2013, 2014) or by concealing potentially inaccurate features such as using a hat and sunglasses (Brown et al., 2019).
The current project considers these techniques, as part of replication, but also to investigate which methods could be combined (e.g., dynamic caricature and stretch, as the underlying mechanism for each method is different). The research also investigates the potential benefit gained from combining composites from different witnesses, to create an average (or ‘morphed’) composite (Frowd et al., 2012a; McIntyre et al., 2016; Valentine et al., 2010).
Primary goals and objectives
- Enhancing composites from witnesses and victims of crime
- Combining composites from different eyewitnesses
- Best practice for achieving identification
The project has provided valuable insight into the various post-production techniques available for policing as part of achieving best evidence.
Related research projects
In the fight against serious crime police forces worldwide are using advanced digital technology co-developed with the University’s forensic practitioners.Friday 27 August 2021
Investigating the effect of visual load on EvoFIT facial composites
The research programme is investigating the impact of presentation of faces to eyewitnesses during construction of EvoFIT facial composites.
Strategies for evolving identifiable facial composite images
This programme of research investigates the best strategies to use when evolving a face from long-term memory using holistic facial-composite systems.
Enhancing the effectiveness of facial-composite images
The aim of this programme of research is to understand how to produce more identifiable facial composites by enhancing internal facial features (i.e., the eyes, mouth) using a holistic composite system.
Using detailed environmental recall to enhance facial-composite images
The programme of research aims to improve the effectiveness of facial composites by recalling the environment in which a face was seen, which allows a witness to construct the face of an offender more effectively.
Self-administered procedures for constructing identifiable facial composites
Our research focuses on techniques that allow police to identity suspects through use of composite images produced by witnesses and victims of crime.
Understanding and improving the effectiveness of sketch facial composites
The research programme considers techniques for improving the effectiveness of forensic sketches.