A £3million ultra modern multi-purpose Police Forensic Science Laboratory has been opened at Kawo Kudi in Accra. The facility, which was sponsored by the European Union, is the first of its kind in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The new forensic lab is a timely addition to the country’s crime fighting machinery.
Speaking at the function, the Head of EU in Ghana, Ambassador Claude Maerten, noted that Forensic Science was an integral part of the criminal justice system of the country.
With the development of new technology, techniques and procedures, society has become increasingly dependent upon forensic science in the detection, prevention and prosecution of crime.
He said the project would be beneficial not only to the Ghana Police Service, but the entire population.
The lab, he said, would provide the highest quality scientific analysis to the criminal justice system. According to the EU Ambassador, it was a step forward in obtaining and maintaining international accreditation.
The process of obtaining such accreditation, he noted, could take years but the most challenging part had been done with the completion of the lab and the training of its core staff.
The IGP, Paul Tawiah Quaye, was elated about the completion of the project as he said that forensic analysis was the back bone of criminal investigation as it could be used to determine perpetrators as well as crime victims and family connections, among others.
The facility, the IGP said, would not serve only Ghana but neighbouring countries to enhance criminal investigations in the sub-region.
Trans national crimes, cross border crimes, drug related crimes, human trafficking, among others, can all be thoroughly and effectively investigated and perpetrators arrested.
He pledged that the facility would be put to good use and well maintained for the benefit of all. The chief constable also expressed much gratitude to the EU for the gesture.
The Vice President, John Dramani Mahama, who cut the tape, together with the ambassador, said there were still some challenges. He said the facility would need more equipment and more human resource in the area of training.
He expressed gratitude to the EU for the completion of the project and hoped that it was put to good use. The Vice President said without the facility, criminal investigations were really difficult as sometimes samples had to be taken to South Africa, with its attended cost in the form of air fare and distance that had to be travel.
The Vice President also used the opportunity to clarify why he had to stop the IGP and the Police Administration from carrying out investigations into the baking powder cocaine saga.
He noted that as a chemistry student, he never learnt about the chemical transformation of cocaine to soda or sodium bicarbonate, except of course there was a human intervention.
He has therefore directed the BNI and the CJ to look into the circumstances which led to the change and find out the extent of the human intervention, as well as which human intervention made that possible.
He stressed that persons found culpable should be severely punished.
“Ghanaians are tired of this and we really have to get to the bottom. We are tired,” He emphasised.
The laboratory, fitted with state of the art equipment, can undertake DNA analysis and facial composition examination through a special software. Special training on the procured equipment has also been provided. In the area of capacity building, 36 police officers have been trained in general forensic training in France and Lithuania and 20 others in general forensics in Ghana. With regard to crime scene investigation, 31 officers have benefited from a DNA testing and analysis training programme with a DNA consultant.
Source: Rocklyn Antonio
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