View our animation to see how EvoFIT works

With EvoFIT, witnesses and victims select from screens of faces, to allow a composite to be ‘evolved’ over time. The system does not require eyewitnesses to have good recall of an offender’s face, unlike traditional ‘feature’ methods. Instead, eyewitnesses just need to have seen the face clearly. There is a dedicated character-based interview for practitioners, one that is administered after reinstatement of the scene of crime. The following animation demonstrates our conventional desktop application as well as the newer online (web) system (click the maximise icon in the animation window to display it in full screen).

The approach aims to construct the most identifiable set of internal features, the central region of the face that is important for recognition by another person later (when seen by a police officer or a member of the public). To enhance effectiveness further, eyewitnesses are usually requested to focus on the region around the eyes during interview and face construction. More recent assessments have also optimised the number of faces that a witness sees to evolve a likeness of the face.

Along with high identification, one of the important benefits is that a composite may be constructed in many more criminal cases than was usually possible previously. There are tools to improve the likeness on demand, such as to change the perceived age, weight, masculinity, health and other global properties of the face, the “holistic” tools. Software tools are also available to manipulate individual features of the face — eyes, nose, mouth, etc.

For refinement of the face, EvoFIT can be used with a dedicated artwork programme, such as the industry standard Adobe Photoshop and Corel Paint Shop Pro, and a large range of hairstyles, masks, hats, caps and hoods can be added. The system saves composites in different formats for identification, options that can also be valuable initially, or when carrying out re-appeals.

A government research exercise was conducted recently, the results for EvoFIT may be found here.

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