Fingerprinting and criminal identification – a case study of Ashanti regional criminal investigation department

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JUNE, 2019
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Fingerprinting technique is a new age technology, specifically used for the identification of humans. The technology has been adopted by various institutions including the Ghana Police Service in order to link suspects to crimes. However, records on fingerprinting in Ghana’s security services have not been the best for successful criminal identification. Therefore, the present study was to evaluate the level of efficiency of fingerprint capturing and matching techniques adopted by the Ghana Police Service. A cross sectional design was used where descriptive method was adopted. A sample size of 210 criminal investigators within the Ashanti Region of the Ghana Police Service was selected via simple randomization. The investigators were taken through structured questionnaires which focused on the use, impact and challenges associated with fingerprint technique application in the Ghana Police Service. Criminal records at all the stations within the Ashanti Regional Command for 2018 were also analyzed to ascertain the cases that were linked to the technique. The results showed that the criminal investigators with the technological know-how on the application were more than 75% at all the divisions; however, only few successful cases (at most 0.71%) were linked to the technique. The investigators also had a lukewarm attitude towards the use of the technique even though they highly acknowledged the positive impact (approximately 4.00 ± 1.20, meaning highly agreed). Some of the significant impacts provided by the respondents include enhancement of productivity, speeding of criminal proceedings and reduction in ambiguity during criminal investigations. The major challenge to the application of fingerprint technique at the Ashanti Regional Command was the inadequate availability of resources (approximately 4.00 ± 1.52). The other mild issues relating to the application included improper fingerprint capturing and matching equipment, poor infrastructure for the technique and less training for personnel. All these findings clearly revealed the need to significantly improve on the application of fingerprint capturing and matching technique at the Ashanti Regional Police Command to facilitate criminal identification and prosecution in the region.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Faculty of Bioscience, College of Science, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Science in Forensic Science
Fingerprint, Criminal identification, Ashanti regional