The identification of individuals by observational gait analysis using closed circuit television footage

Sci Justice. 2013 Sep;53(3):339-42. doi: 10.1016/j.scijus.2013.04.005. Epub 2013 May 17.


This study investigated the ability of individuals with experience in gait analysis to identify people by observing features of gait recorded by closed circuit television cameras (CCTV). Seven experienced analysts each viewed five samples of footage. Each sample showed a "target walker" and five "suspect walkers." The task of the experienced analysts was to determine which, if any, of the "suspect walkers" was the "target walker." All of the participant "walkers" wore identical loose fitting clothing to mask anatomical and body contour features, and balaclavas to obscure facial features. The overall results showed that the experienced analysts made a correct decision in 124 of 175 cases (71%), significantly better than would have been expected to have occurred by chance (p<0.05). A significant variation in correct decisions (p<0.05) was shown to occur between the various angles from which the footage was recorded, footage recorded in the saggital plane showing the highest number of correct decisions. Significantly more correct decisions (p<0.05) were also shown to occur when the footage of the "target walker" and that of the "suspect walker" were taken from the same angle. The results suggest that individuals with experience in gait analysis perform well in the comparative identification of suspects from CCTV footage, and therefore do have a role to play as expert witnesses in this field.

Keywords: CCTV; Gait analysis.

MeSH terms

  • Biometric Identification / methods*
  • Female
  • Gait*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Television*
  • Video Recording*