Law enforcement agencies around the world use ridge-based biometrics, especially fingerprints, to fight crime. Fingermarks that are left at a crime scene and identified as potentially having evidential value (EV) in a court of law are recorded for further forensic analysis. Here, we test our evidential value algorithm (EVA) which uses image features trained on forensic expert decisions for 1428 fingermarks to produce an EV score for an image. First, we study the relationship between whether a fingermark is assessed as having EV, either by a human expert or by EVA, and its correct and confident identification by an automatic identification system. In particular, how often does an automatic system achieve identification when the mark is assessed as not having evidential value? We show that when the marks are captured by a mobile phone, correct and confident automatic matching occurs for 257 of the 1428. Of these, 236 were marked as having sufficient EV by experts and 242 by EVA thresholded on equal error rate. Second, we test four relatively challenging ridge-based biometric databases and show that EVA can be successfully applied to give an EV score to all images. Using EV score as an image quality value, we show that in all databases, thresholding on EV improves performance in closed set identification. Our results suggest an EVA application that filters fingermarks meeting a minimum EV score could aid forensic experts at the point of collection, or by flagging difficult latents objectively, or by pre-filtering specimens before submission to an AFIS.
- Image quality
- Evidential value