An investigation into the use of CCTV footage to improve likeness in facial composites

Ness, Hayley and Bruce, Vicki (2006). An investigation into the use of CCTV footage to improve likeness in facial composites. In: European Association of Psychology and Law Conference (EAPL 2006), 27-30 Jun 2006, Liverpool University, Liverpool.

Abstract

Facial composites are an important investigative tool and have been used in numerous high-profile cases (e.g. Yorkshire Ripper). Despite this, a great deal of research has indicated that composites often portray very poor facial resemblance to the suspect/target. While some of the difficulties with the older composite systems (e.g. Photofit and Identikit) were due to system design (see e.g. Ellis, Shepherd & Davies, 1975; Davies, Ellis & Shepherd, 1978; Laughery & Fowler (1980), the hit rate for composites constructed with more modern systems (e.g. E-FIT and PROfit) can still be very low (e.g. Frowd et al. 2005). While research has indicated that composite likeness can be improved at test by combining composites from multiple witnesses (e.g. Bennet, Brace, Pike, & Kemp 1999; Bruce, Ness, Hancock, Newman, & Rarity, 2002; Ness, 2003) research on improving composites during construction has produced mixed results.

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