The term itself was proposed by Janina Kaminska at the UK Home Office in 1984. It falls on the leading edge of or predates the general use of "e" for electronic and retains the "E-" it started with to this date. In comparison the far more recent eFIT is a fitness plan on the internet.
Customers for this system exist around the world including Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), New York Police Department, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Swedish Police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Scotland Yard.
The system is used both in every day cases and high profile events. In the United Kingdom, it is an ever present feature on the BBC's Crimewatch television program. It was actively used in a case where one of the Crimewatch presenters themselves became a victim of a stalker and murder. The system is available in Spanish, German, English(US&UK), French, Italian, Portuguese and Swedish.
The system has been programmed by John Platten from its inception at the UK Home Office. This reflects much of the history of the personal computer itself. Early personal computers only had green CRT screens so the first version relied on television studio hardware. It was ported to MSDOS when the first VGA screens appeared, then to Windows and finally rewritten for Microsoft .NET framework in 2004.
E-FIT has since gained a 3D facility, which is complex and seldom used, a clothing system which is used internally by the police and most recently the ability to operate in colour.
The E-FIT and Pro-fit systems used in the UK have been subjected to a number of formal examinations, which have typically shown that both can produce composites that are correctly named, either immediately or a few hours after construction, only about 20% of the time (see Brace et al (2000) Bruce et al (2002) and Davies et al (2000)) . When witnesses are required to wait two days before constructing a composite, which matches real use more closely, however, naming falls to just a few percent at best (e.g. Frowde et al (2005))