Forensic Science Laboratory - FSL
The Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) of the Ghana Police Service was established to provide scientific support to criminal investigations. It is the only Forensic Laboratory for the Ghana Police Service and as such caters for all the ten regions in Ghana. The unit is under the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service. The FSL is divided into five (5) main sections namely Chemistry/Drugs Analysis, Document Examination, Photography, DNA and Ballistics/Firearms.
FORENSIC SCIENCE LABORATORY
CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION DEPARTMENT
P.O. BOX 505
The present day Forensic Science Laboratory started as a small Crime Scene Unit at the Police Training School in Tesano, Accra; by a British Expatriate Superintendent of Police Mr. B. S. Holloway in 1948. The area of work was mainly taking of photographs and lifting of fingerprints at crime scenes as well as the preparation of criminal records for convicted criminals. A Crime Laboratory was created by Mr. B. S. Holloway in 1963 consisting of the following sections;
- Document/ Photo
In 1964, Superintendent Mr. B. S. Holloway retired and left for Britain, his home country. His Ghanaian assistant Mr. Tamakloe took over and moved the newly created Crime Laboratory to Accra Central Police Station but it was located in the premises of the Ghana Water and Sewerage Corporation with the CID/HQRS Annex.
In August 1966, Mr. Tamakloe again moved the Crime Laboratory with all the sections with the exception of the fingerprint section to the current location at KLUVIA CLOSE, OLUSEGUN OBASANJO HIGH STREET. The fingerprint section remained in Accra Central until it was relocated to the 3rd floor of the CID/HQRS building on the Ring Road Central, Cantonments.
The name was changed to Forensic Science Laboratory in 1999 under the headship of Mrs. Joana Osei – Poku and during the tenure of the then Director General/CID Mr P. K. Acheampong.
The Forensic Science Laboratory has over the years has undergone various transformations in a quest to reach international standards. The most recent commissioned on December 16, 2011 was a Three Million Euro support from the European Union under the EU-Ghana Police Project. The FSL received a tremendous facelift under this project. This included expansion of the physical structure of the FSL, acquisition of state-of-the-art equipment and also materials for all the sections. The support also brought an evolution of the Serology section into a fully-fledged operational forensic DNA section, the first of its kind in the West African sub region.
Chemistry | Drug Analysis Section
The Chemistry/Drug Analysis Section examines seized materials suspected to be narcotics. It receives an average of about 800 cases annually. Additionally, the section conducts chemical analysis such as;
- Etching to restore obliterated marks on metal surfaces such as chassis numbers on cars, models numbers on weapons and other objects.
- Examination of materials mostly clothing for the presence of acids or alkalis. The section can boast of modern analytical instruments including Gas Chromatograph-Mass Spectrometer system (GC-MS), Gas chromatograph – Flame Ionization Detector system (GC-FID), High Performance Liquid Chromatograph (HPLC) and Infra Red (IR) spectrophotometer.
This has greatly improved the work of the unit in terms of quality and speed.
On the international level the chemistry section is a regular participant in the bi-annual International Collaborative Exercise (ICE) organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as a proficiency testing tool. We are proud to state that our results are very high and consistent an indication of our classed status.
The Ballistic Section assists Criminal Investigations with evidence related to firearms and ammunitions. Based on evidence collected the section can provide various answers including;
- What or which weapon fired a bullet or cartridge case?
- The entry and exit points of ammunition in objects or targets such as the human body, car, walls etc
- The possible distance of the firer from the object or target.
The Ballistic section can boast of a 20X7m state-of-the-art Shooting Range, a comparison microscope, a bullet trap or catcher and an ammunition velocity determinant gadget.
The section examines documents to provide answers for documents in disputes.
The scope of its work includes;
- Determination of authenticity of wills, currencies, passports, printed materials etc.
- Identification of handwriting and signatures
- Identification of documents suspected to be forged
- Identification of typed materials, Checks, photocopies.
- Detection of alterations, additions, deletions of documents
- Deciphering alterations and erasures.
The section works with sophisticated modern instruments like the; Video Spectral Comparator (VSC) and Electrostatic imaging system for detecting indented impressions on documents (ESDA). The section works on a lot of cases for the police and the general public as well as the courts in Ghana thereby generating funds for the state. The current fee for examination (civil cases) is One thousand Ghana Cedis (GHC1,000).
Being the oldest section of the laboratory, the photography part of the lab among its functions assists all the other sections of the laboratory to document evidence in pictorial form. The section also assists the Crime Scene unit in processing scenes of crime. Another important function of the unit is the production of Identity Cards for the Ghana Police Service. The unit is equipped with a Digital photo minilab system.
Formerly the Serology Section, the DNA section as mentioned earlier was created under the EU-Ghana Police Project and it is fully operational. The Section is equipped with a 7500 Real-Time PCR, 9700 GeneAmp thermal Cyclers, and 3500 Capillary Electrophoresis Apparatus among others. The analysis handled by the section varies from Relationship (paternity, Siblingship) testing to Forensics (criminal cases). Plans are underway to get a national database to enhance criminal investigations. The current fee for Relationship Testing is One Thousand and five hundred (GHC1,500) and above depending on the number subjects involved the request.
All the various sections of the laboratory are opened to both the Police and the general public and their services can be accessed through the Director General CID at the Headquarters in Accra.