Aug 12, 2019 by Foresight

Is CCTV Evidence Enough to Prosecute?

The role of CCTV evidence in identifying suspects and solving crimes should not be downplayed. CCTV cameras are a familiar sight in public places and businesses around the UK, meaning they often record the crucial moments before, during and after a crime is committed.

Although CCTV evidence can seem like a convincing picture of what happened at the scene of a crime, it is not without its problems. The position of the camera may mean crucial details are not recorded, and varying image quality can provoke questions over the accuracy of the footage. So without CCTV analysis and facial mapping, CCTV evidence may not be as convincing as once thought.

Issues with CCTV Evidence

Different types of CCTV cameras are used for home, public or business surveillance, meaning there can be significant variations in the quality of CCTV images recorded. Just as some cameras record HD video in real time, others take nothing more than a series of intermittent still images. In the case of the latter, crucial details about recorded incidents may be missed. Furthermore, many CCTV cameras only record black and white images, which could make it more difficult to accurately identify a suspect from CCTV recordings.

Few CCTV cameras record high quality audio, meaning that non-enhanced audio recordings from CCTV footage are rarely convincing in court. Where poor-quality, incomplete or unreliable imagery is paired with imperfect or absent audio, what initially appears to be conclusive evidence could be called into question.

But this is not to say that even imperfect CCTV footage cannot play a key role from both prosecution and defence perspectives alike. In instances where raw footage may be considered inadmissible, CCTV analysis and facial mapping can make all the difference.

Forensic Techniques Used to Identify a Suspect

When the quality of the footage is poor, it can be very difficult to accurately identify the person in the image. Facial mapping is a technique which can be used to identify the subject of the CCTV recording by comparing facial proportions and the distances between their features to a known image of a suspect. The findings of facial mapping can offer an indication of how likely it is that the person in the known image and the person in the CCTV image are the same. It is possible for suspects to be excluded all together after the facial mapping process.

If the CCTV images do not show the suspect’s face, gait analysis can be used to identify them. Gait analysis is a forensic technique which involves tracking the unique way the subject of the recording walks and comparing it to a live suspect to verify whether they are likely to be the same person. When these identification techniques and processes are used, a far more comprehensive and convincing illustration of the incident as a whole begins to emerge.

So while it’s true to say that CCTV evidence has the potential to be conclusive enough to prosecute, raw footage alone may prove to be inadequate. Here at Foresight, we provide experts in the most advanced CCTV enhancement and forensic analysis techniques. Where there’s strong evidence to be extracted from a CCTV clip – even in the absence of quality or clarity – our experts can pinpoint and enhance it.

If you require a CCTV analysis or facial mapping expert for a criminal case, contact the Foresight Clinical Services team today. We pride ourselves on our responsive service, and will provide you with a fully itemised quote and expert CV within 24 hours of your enquiry.



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