The Forensic Laboratory (FSL) of the Ghana Police Service was established to provide scientific support to criminal investigations. It is the only forensic lab for the Ghana police Service and as such caters for all the ten (10) regions in Ghana.
The FSL over the years has undergone various transformations in a quest to reach international standards. The most recent commissioned on December 16, 2011 was a €3,000,000.00 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-arts 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 and in fact the only Police DNA lab south of the Sahara except in South Africa.
The Unit is under the Criminal Investigation Department of the Ghana Police Service and is divided into five (5) main sections which are classified below;
1. CHEMICAL/DRUG ANALYSIS SECTION
The Chemical/Drug Analysis Section examines seized materials suspected to be narcotics. It receives an average of a thousand cases annually. Additionally, the section conducts chemical analysis such as;
i. Etching to restore obliterated marks on metal surfaces such as chassis numbers on cars, models numbers on weapons and other objects.
ii. Examination of materials mostly clothing for the presence of acids or alkalis.
The section can boast of modern state of the art machines including Gas chromatography-Mass Spectrometer System (GC-MS), Gas chromatography-Flame ionization detector system (GC-FID), High performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) and Infra Red (IR) spectroscopy.
This has greatly improved the work of the unit in terms of quality and speed. Also the unit has plans of expanding to take up analysis for cases in arson and toxicology.
On the international level the chemical section is a regular participant in the biannual International Collaborative Exercise (ICE) organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). 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;
i. What or which weapon fired a bullet or cartridge case?
ii. The entry and exit points of ammunition in objects or targets such as the human body, car, walls etc.
iii. The possible distance of the firer from the object or target.
The Ballistic section can boast of 20X7m state-of-the-art Shooting Range, a comparison microscope, a bullet trap or catcher and an ammunition velocity determinant gadget.
3. DOCUMENT EXAMINATION
The section examines documents to provide answers for documents in disputes.
The scope of its work includes;
i. Determination of authenticity of wills, currencies, passports, printed materials etc.
ii. Identification of handwriting and signatures
iii. Identification of documents suspected to be forged
iv. Identification of typed materials, Checks, photocopies.
v. Detection of alterations, additions, deletions of documents
vi. 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.
Being the oldest section of the lab, the photography as part of the lab among its functions assists all the other sections of the lab 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 making of Police Identity Cards for the Ghana Police Service. The unit is equipped with a Digital photo minilab system.
5. DNA SECTION
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 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.
All the various sections of the lab are opened to both the Police and the general public and their services can be accessed through the Director-General/CID at the CID-Headquarters in Accra.