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Forensic Science Regulator Regulatory Notice 01/2019

Updated: Aug 31, 2022

Image Enhancement and Image Comparison: Provision of Opinion

This Regulatory Notice is issued by the Forensic Science Regulator (the Regulator) to emphasise certain practitioners’ legal obligations by setting out specific principles based on case law which apply when presenting opinion in relation to image enhancement and/or comparison.

The Regulator has been made aware of incidents where image analysis experts appear to have failed to stay within the bounds of their expertise and non-experts appear to have provided opinion evidence on footage which they were not qualified to do.

Imagery experts have also presented to the Regulator a number of errors caused by comparison experts failing to understand the limitations of imagery and artefacts that may be present and/or failing to communicate effectively to the courts the limitations of work carried out.

The following general principles must apply when presenting expert opinion in relation to image enhancement and/or image comparison when the images are derived from video footage.

Statement of Principles Principle 1: The evidence containing opinion must be admissible in this jurisdiction as expert evidence.

Further legal obligations applicable to all forensic science practitioners working in the Criminal Justice System are available from: legal-guidance.

Recognition of individuals known to the observer in stills and video footage is subject to the provisions of PACE Code D and is not expert opinion evidence. FSR Regulatory Notice 01/2019 Page 1 of 2

  1. The evidence must be capable of being expert evidence.

  2. The evidence must be necessary.

  3. The evidence must be based on sound science.

  4. The individual who proposes to give the evidence must be an expert in all relevant aspects (see below).

Copyright: FSR 2022

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