Frowd's research aims to understand the extent to which witnesses and
victims of crime construct accurate facial composites (pictures of
criminal's faces), and to develop techniques which maximize the
effectiveness of composites, thus allowing the police to identify as many
offenders as possible using this type of forensic evidence. The principal
impact involves a software system (EvoFIT), a new interview
(Holistic-Cognitive Interview, H-CI) and two formats (animated caricature
and stretched composite) for the police to publish composites in the
media. In the audit period, these advancements have been used by police
forces in the UK, US, Romania and Israel.
Our research has made an outstanding contribution to the ability of
police forces to apprehend criminal suspects, particularly in cases of
serious violent crime. EvoFIT is a facial composite system (software and
procedures), designed to help victims and witnesses of crime to create a
likeness of the perpetrator's face. It was conceived by Professor Peter
Hancock in the mid-1990s and has been developed into an effective system
that is in use by police forces across the UK and abroad. Forces using
EvoFIT have actively collaborated with assessment of the system, and
evidence from field trials clearly demonstrates the impact: a
world-leading 25-60% of composites made with EvoFIT directly lead to an
arrest, four times better than the best previous system used by police
forces. Our novel methods for interviewing witnesses and for presentation
of composites have enhanced the success of EvoFIT, and are now
incorporated in competitor composite systems used by other police forces.
Professor Tim Valentine is an expert in facial identification by
eyewitnesses. His research has proved that video lineups provide more
reliable evidence than live lineups. It has contributed to changes in the
legal code of practice for eyewitness identification. He has trained
hundreds of police officers and lawyers in the problems of witness
identification, and acted as an expert witness in criminal cases.
High-profile cases include Abdel Basset al-Megrahi (the Lockerbie bomber),
Barry George (wrongly convicted of Jill Dando's murder) and Omar Deghayes,
a British resident detained in Guantanamo Bay.
The Self-Administered Interview (SAI©) is a powerful evidence-based
investigative interviewing tool designed to elicit comprehensive initial
statements from multiple witnesses and victims, particularly in time- and
resource-critical situations. Developed in the laboratory and tested in
the field, the research underpinning the SAI© has resulted in changes in
policy, professional practice and training activities within police forces
internationally. Operationally, the SAI© has contributed to the
investigation of major criminal incidents enabling investigators to
collect information from witnesses in challenging situations. The SAI© has
elicited critical leads and compelling evidence for Court proceedings —
indicating public benefit arising from service improvements.
The development of a robust criminal justice system is vital in any
civilised society and benefits
victims, witnesses, police, suspects, and the general public. Research in
the Department of
Psychology at Royal Holloway, University of London has investigated
underlying memory retrieval in the context of criminal justice scenarios
in which memory may be
particularly vulnerable. This research has had major impacts on the way in
which police interview
witnesses to a crime, and on the way in which video identification parades
are conducted. It has
also led indirectly to significant developments in the way in which
evidence from very young
children is treated in court.
The University of Portsmouth research into effective use of the Cognitive
Interview (CI) by police forces in the UK and overseas has led to
recommendations for changes to training of police officers in this field
throughout their careers being adopted in several countries across the
world. The work, led by Dr Becky Milne, has also been used to inform the
decision making processes of a variety of national policy reviews and
professional bodies. Research has improved the standard of interviewing,
particularly for sensitive investigations such as rape and child abuse.
Changes to the law in the early 1990s removed the need for corroborating
or physical evidence in abuse cases and allowed videotaped evidence of a
child or other vulnerable witnesses to be used in a criminal court. This
necessitated the drawing up of guidance to help police officers and other
judicial practitioners, gather crucial evidence while minimising
unintentional influence. Research at Leicester has underpinned work to
assess and improve the effectiveness of this guidance and to create a
framework of procedural best practice. This has influenced and directed
the formation of protocols and training development of practitioners for
uniform, fair and reliable investigative interviewing of vulnerable
witnesses and for accurate identification and interrogative interviewing
of suspects in the UK and through the sharing of best practice, across the
UK and internationally.
Research conducted within the School of Physical Sciences (SPS) at the
University of Kent has led to the development and successful
commercialisation of facial identification software named EFIT-V.
First sold in 2007, this software is now used by more than 70 police
forces internationally and has revolutionized the way eyewitnesses
and victims of crime create computerised facial likenesses of offenders.
These images are circulated to police intelligence units, and the general
public, leading to the identification and arrests of offenders. Police
Identification rates have jumped from 5% to 55% as a result of this
software. With a current annual turnover exceeding £250K, which is
projected to reach £600K by 2015, Kent spinout company Visionmetric
has made significant impact with EFIT-V, and achieved a position
of commercial dominance in the UK, and around the world.
Research in biometrics carried out at Surrey since 1995 has generated IP
relating to a number of
aspects of automatic face recognition, which resulted in significant
rendering this biometric technology commercially exploitable.
The advances made at Surrey include illumination invariant imaging, face
using robust correlation, innovative face skin texture representation
using a multiscale local binary
pattern descriptor, a patented (and exceptionally compact) person specific
facial component based matching, and patented multi-algorithmic fusion.
Through an IP agreement, these innovations have been commercially
exploited by the University
spinout company OmniPerception, which has developed products for various
Pioneering research by the Universities' Police Science Institute (UPSI)
has made police more effective at understanding and responding to crime
and disorder. UPSI's work has provided an evidence base about how to
engage effectively with communities so that policing interventions target
those issues influencing how people think, feel and act about their
safety. Key impacts have been: changing Home Office policy for the
policing of antisocial behaviour across England and Wales; informing the
Prevent counter-terrorism strategy for the UK and overseas and improving
the outcomes of South Wales Police's Neighbourhood Policing Teams.