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Facial Identification and the Third Forensics: Images and Allusions

Lecture Theatre 402, Fourth Floor, Business and Law Building, City Campus East


Professor Martin Evison, Professor in Forensic Science

Department of Applied SciencesMartin Evison (002) -embed

The number of digital facial images forming evidence in criminal investigations is growing rapidly due to the wealth of sources available, including mobile devices, surveillance cameras, and social media.

This seminar will explore the development of forensic facial image analysis, which has  its roots in early police photography, and will go on to introduce the most common approaches to facial image identification of suspects in current use:

  • Computerised facial recognition - based on pixel array comparison
  • Eyewitness recognition - based on normal human face perception and recognition, and including so-called ‘Super-recognisers’ prominent in the investigation of the London Riots of 2011
  • Forensic facial image comparison - based on the empirical comparison measurements and morphology of facial images

The relative strengths and weaknesses of these approaches in investigation and in court will be discussed. Some recent research on face shape and appearance variation will also be introduced in the context of these issues. Professor Evison will also touch upon advances in Artificial Intelligence and its significance in the field.


This lecture is part of the Police Research and Education Network series that will draw upon leading research expertise within Northumbria University. Each seminar will provide an opportunity for staff to present their research findings on key topics for contemporary policing, reflecting on the challenge of developing evidence based for police practice.

The seminars are free to attend. They will be informal and are designed to promote debate between academics and practitioners from the police and other relevant agencies. To register, please click on the 'Register' button at the top of the page and submit your details. 

Refreshments will be available in front of Lecture Theatre 402, Business and Law Building, City Campus East, NE2 1UY from 5pm.

Event Details

Lecture Theatre 402, Fourth Floor, Business and Law Building, City Campus East
Newcastle upon Tyne



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