Gait analysis is known as 'the systematic study of human locomotion.' Forensic gait analysis or forensic gait comparison is defined as 'the assessment and evaluation of the gait patterns and features of the person/suspect and comparing these features with the scene of crime evidence for criminal/personal identification.' In other words, forensic gait analysis may be defined as a contributor to the identification process rather than one of the methods of identification as individualization of the gait of a person has not yet been fully scientifically proved.' The forensic gait analysis's general source or evidence comprises the series of footprints found at the crime scene and the closed-circuit television camera (CCTV) footage. Footprints are one of the pieces of evidence encountered at the crime scene. Footprints can be recovered in the form of bare prints, shoeprints as well as a series of imprints. Footprints can be encountered in several types of cases and crime scenes such as HBT (House Break-in and Theft), robbery, sexual assaults, hit and run, shoplifting, homicides, kidnapping, etc. The science of footprints and gait analysis is a part of an emerging sub-discipline of forensic science known as forensic podiatry. Forensic podiatry is "the application of podiatric knowledge and experience in forensic investigations. It shows the association of an individual with a scene of a crime, or to answer any other legal question concerned with the foot or footwear that requires knowledge of the functioning foot." The principles and knowledge of forensic podiatry help the investigating officers and crime scene investigators when they are involved with the foot, footwear, and/or gait-related evidence at the crime scene. This knowledge can further establish the suspect's physical or biological profile for individualization and identification.
Meanwhile, an investigating officer is always on the look-out for evidence that will link the suspect to the scene of the crime. In recent times, gait analysis has emerged as an important parameter that can help in personal identification during forensic examinations. The advent of CCTV cameras and other surveillance means has generated interest in the practice and research related to forensic gait analysis and its possible use in human individualization. In 1839, in London, gait analysis entered into the court in the case of Thomas Jackson; he was identified by the witness due to his bowed left leg and walking with a limp. However, for the very first time, the forensic gait analysis was used as a means of admissible evidence/scientific evidence in the Old Bailey Central Criminal Court, London, UK, in the case of R v. Saunders by the U.K. based forensic podiatrist, Dr. Haydn Kelly., although, the method of forensic gait analysis remains questionable as far as the reliability and accuracy are concerned. The article discusses forensic gait analysis methods, factors affecting the human gait, its forensic applications and its accuracy, reliability, and admissibility in the court of law.