Image processing of false identity documents for forensic intelligence

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Forensic Science International, 2016, 263 pp. 67 - 73
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© 2016 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. Forensic intelligence has recently gathered increasing attention as a potential expansion of forensic science that may contribute in a wider policing and security context. Whilst the new avenue is certainly promising, relatively few attempts to incorporate models, methods and techniques into practical projects are reported. This work reports a practical application of a generalised and transversal framework for developing forensic intelligence processes referred to here as the Transversal model adapted from previous work. Visual features present in the images of four datasets of false identity documents were systematically profiled and compared using image processing for the detection of a series of modus operandi (M.O.) actions. The nature of these series and their relation to the notion of common source was evaluated with respect to alternative known information and inferences drawn regarding respective crime systems. 439 documents seized by police and border guard authorities across 10 jurisdictions in Switzerland with known and unknown source level links formed the datasets for this study. Training sets were developed based on both known source level data, and visually supported relationships. Performance was evaluated through the use of intra-variability and inter-variability scores drawn from over 48,000 comparisons. The optimised method exhibited significant sensitivity combined with strong specificity and demonstrates its ability to support forensic intelligence efforts.
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