The system first appeared in the late 1980s, programmed by John Platten and has since been progressively refined by Platten and latterly by Dr Matthew Maylin. E-FIT has developed a reputation as a highly reliable and flexible system for feature-based composite construction.
Customers for this system exist in over 30 countries around the world. These include the Metropolitan Police Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), the New York Police Department, the Stockholm Police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
E-FIT is used both for minor and serious crimes. In the United Kingdom, it is an ever-present feature on the BBC's Crimewatch television programme. The system is available in Spanish, German, English (both US and UK), French, Italian, Portuguese and Swedish.
The widespread use of the original E-FIT approach is gradually being superseded by a new version of the program called EFIT-V. EFIT-V is a full-colour, hybrid system that offers increased flexibility and speed, allowing the face to be constructed using both evolutionary and systematic construction techniques.
The E-FIT and Pro-fit systems used in the UK have been subjected to a number of formal academic examinations. In these studies, composites were correctly named,[clarification needed] either immediately or a few hours after construction, approximately 20% of the time. In one study in which witnesses were required to wait two days before constructing a composite, which matches real use more closely, naming rates fell to only a few percent.
- Brace, N., Pike. G., and Kemp, R., 2000, Investigating E-FIT using famous faces, in "Forensic Psychology and Law", A. Czerederecka, T. Jaskiewicz-Obydzinska and J. Wojcikiewicz (Eds) pp 272 - 276, Krakow Institute of Forensic Research Publishers.
- Bruce, V., Ness, H., Hancock, P.J.B., Newman, C. and Rarity J., 2002, Four heads are better than one: Combining face composites yields improvements in face likeness, Journal of Applied Psychology, 87, 894-902.
- Davies, G.M., Van Der Willie P. and Morrison, L.J., 2000, Facial composite production: A comparison of mechanical and computer driven systems, Journal of Applied Psychology, 85, 119-124
- Frowd, C.D., Carson, D., Ness, H., McQuiston-Surrett, D., Richardson, J., Baldwin, H. and Hancock, P.J.B., 2005, Contemporary composite techniques: the impact of a forensically-relevant target delay, Legal and Criminological Psychology, 10, 63-81