A system to quickly identify victims and missing persons is being developed in a project spearheaded by Interpol in collaboration with five European partners.
The FAST and efficient international disaster victim IDentification (FASTID) project is expected to assist in everyday policing, as well as in the aftermath of manmade or natural disasters. It will combine Interpol’s Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) protocols with Yellow Notices to mark missing persons and Black Notices where information on unidentified bodies is needed.
FASTID aims to provide a single database for teams in the field responding to a disaster or national police trying to locate a missing person.
A need for a centralised database to identify and link missing persons or unidentified bodies was realised following the Asian tsunami in 2004. The tragedy identified a need for recognised standardised procedures to ensure fast and efficient identification of victims where multiple countries are involved.
“The combined elements of this database and its accessibility to law enforcement across the world, via Interpol’s global network, will help meet the needs of both day-to-day policing and for those responding to disasters, where and when required,” said Peter Ambs, Interpol’s FASTID project leader.
Research is also being carried out into image retrieval methods, including a computerised system to browse and identify potential matches to help forensic identification in relation to faces, tattoos, body jewellery and clothing.
Commonly-used identifying methods, such as fingerprints, dental and DNA information, craniofacial reconstruction, 3D morphing and superimposition, will also be examined by the project team to establish if these techniques can also be implemented and integrated into the system.