Research Online


Goldsmiths - University of London

Identification from CCTV: Assessing police super-recogniser ability to spot faces in a crowd and susceptibility to change blindness

Davis, Josh; Forrest, Charlotte; Treml, Felicia and Jansari, Ashok S.. 2018. Identification from CCTV: Assessing police super-recogniser ability to spot faces in a crowd and susceptibility to change blindness. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 32(3), pp. 337-353. ISSN 0888-4080 [Article]

No full text available
[img] Text
Davis, Forrest, Treml & Jansari 2018_Applied Cognitive Psychology_Identification from CCTV.pdf - Accepted Version
Permissions: Administrator Access Only until 14 February 2019.
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (909kB)

Abstract or Description

Police worldwide regularly review CCTV evidence in investigations. This research found London police experts who work in a full-time ‘Super-Recogniser Unit’ and front line police identifiers regularly making suspect identifications from CCTV, possessed superior unfamiliar face recognition ability, and, with higher levels of confidence, outperformed controls at locating actors in a bespoke Spot the Face in a Crowd Test (SFCT). Police were also less susceptible to change blindness errors, and possessed higher levels of conscientiousness, and lower levels of neuroticism and openness. Controls who took part in SFCT actor familiarisation training outperformed untrained controls, suggesting this exercise might enhance identification of persons of interest in real investigations. This research supports an accumulating body of evidence demonstrating that international police forces may benefit from deploying officers with superior face recognition ability to roles such as CCTV review, as these officers may be the most likely to identify persons of interest.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):

Additional Information:

European Union's Seventh FrameworkProgramme, Grant/Award Number: (FP7 ‐SEC‐2013.1.6‐1; 607480); Large Scale Information Exploitation of Forensic Data (LASIE) project.


Super-recogniser, face recognition, CCTV, face matching, change blindness

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



14 February 2018Accepted
2 April 2018Published Online
May 2018Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

14 Feb 2018 16:44

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2018 11:46

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)