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Forensic procedures for facial-composite construction

Cristina Fodarella (Department of Psychology, University of Winchester, Winchester, United Kingdom)
Heidi Kuivaniemi-Smith (Department of Psychology, University of Winchester, Winchester, United Kingdom)
Julie Gawrylowicz (Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London, London, United Kingdom)
Charlie D. Frowd (Department of Psychology, University of Winchester, Winchester, United Kingdom)

The Journal of Forensic Practice

ISSN: 2050-8794

Article publication date: 9 November 2015




The paper provides a detailed description of standard procedures for constructing facial composites. These procedures are relevant to forensic practice and are contained in the technical papers of this special issue; the purpose of this paper is also to provide an expanding reference of procedures for future research on facial composites and facial-composite systems.


A detailed account is given of the interaction between practitioner and witness for producing a facial composite. This account involves an overview of the Cognitive Interview (CI) and the Holistic CI (H-CI) techniques used to obtain a description of the face of an offender (target); the authors then describe how this information is used to produce a composite from five popular face-production systems: Sketch, PRO-fit, Electronic Facial Identification Technique (E-FIT), EvoFIT and EFIT-V. An online annex is also made available to provide procedural information for additional composite systems.

Practical implications

The work is valuable to forensic practitioners and researchers as a reference for interviewing techniques (involving a CI or an H-CI) and using facial-composite systems.


The authors provide an accessible, current guide for how to administer interviewing techniques and how to construct composites from a range of face-production systems.



The authors would like to thank Claire Ford, Emily Graham and Claire Madin, all from the Psychology Department at the University of Winchester, along with two anonymous reviewers, for their insightful comments on this paper.


Fodarella, C., Kuivaniemi-Smith, H., Gawrylowicz, J. and Frowd, C.D. (2015), "Forensic procedures for facial-composite construction", The Journal of Forensic Practice, Vol. 17 No. 4, pp. 259-270.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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