UCC organises 1st national forensic investigation symposium

Accra, The Department of Forensic Sciences of the University of Cape Coast (UCC), has held it first national symposium on Forensic and Investigative Sciences in Accra, aimed at promoting the criminal investigation process in the country.

The symposium, held on the theme Peace Security and Justice for National Development, focused on the scientific approach to crime and security analysis, and featured presentations from both local and foreign experts, who spoke on new forensic themes and techniques that were being explored, used or experimented and developed towards finding the truth about crime.

Professor Joseph Ghartey Ampiah, Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast, said the University decided to organise the annual event to create awareness on the importance of forensic science in conducting investigations in crime in the country.

He said, the symposium would therefore, help in raising awareness on the University’s new programme of study aimed at training forensic scientists to support the nation’s civil and justice system.

The Department enrolled its first batch of students into a BSc Forensic Science programme in 2015/2016 academic year, to help train competent and adequate personnel for the system.

Prof Ampiah explained that since the wheel of justice is said to grind slowly, it would take a ‘high forensic science to grease the wheel to move it faster’.

He therefore urged personnel who investigate and prosecute crimes to build their capacities and skills by enrolling in the forensic science programme at the UCC, to ensure that they were ahead of criminals and crime.

Mr Albert Antwi-Boasiako, National Cyber Security Advisor at the Ministry of Communications in a presentation said issues of cyber-crime continued to be a big security threat to Ghana because the country’s current security readiness was less than thirty five percent.

He said dealing with it would require both active and responsive actions, against the background that Ghana had developed into an information technology base country that continually record technology-based crimes, he noted.

He also revealed that child pornography on the social media was currently on the rise, and, therefore, the Ministry of Communications was collaborating with the Gender Ministry and UNICEF, to address the concerns, adding that there was the need to look at the social dimension of child pornography at home and that parents must safeguard their children from the abuse of the internet.

Mr Antwi-Boasiako, however said Ghana had one of the best laws to deal with cyber-crimes, but its implementation still faced challenges, adding that there was the need to build capacities of law enforcers to enable them effectively implement it.

He commended the UCC for introducing the forensic sciences programme that would enable officers to upgrade themselves in crime prosecution.

ACP Maame Yaa Tiwaa Addo-Danquah, Acting Head of the Police Criminal Investigation Department (CID), said the increase in cyber-crimes and terrorism had made the work of the Police challenging and therefore science was needed to help investigate and build concrete evidence to prove cases in the court of law.

She noted that over 80 percent of traditional crimes such as rape, theft, robbery were becoming difficult to investigate, while the police was struggling to put its forensic lab in proper shape to investigate difficult crimes.

She therefore called for mutual legal assistance to help in investigating crimes based on both science and circumstantial evidence to proof cases.

When we are able to investigate and prosecute successfully, that alone will be an effective deterrent to crime Mrs Addo-Danquah said.

Mr Maxwel Opoku Agyemang, a legal practitioner and a law lecturer at the University of Ghana Law School, said the current state of investigations in Ghana was based on emotions and prejudice, and therefore scientific evidence proven by its authenticity and necessity would go a long way to help in prosecution.

Professor Maria De la Paz Aguilar Caballos, an Associate Professor of the University of Cordoba in Spain, emphasised on the need to increase close border cooperation within countries in the face of increased terrorism and cybercrime across the world.

Source: Ghana News Agency