Few people know about forensic science in Ghana
This study reports limited knowledge about forensic science in Ghana. This may mean that using forensic science is not being used enough to support evidence in Ghanaian court cases.
Globally, forensic science has become a key part of collecting evidence to use in a court of law to prove if a person is guilty or innocent. A forensic scientist collects and analyses evidence like fingerprints, blood or weapons in a scientific way as part of an investigation into a crime.
In Ghana, crime levels are high but the police do not apply forensics often, which affects how courts are able to deliver justice.
There is also little research available on forensic science in Ghana to advise the government.
In this study, the researchers assessed the public’s knowledge and perception of forensic science in Ghana. They also studied the factors that influence people's knowledge and perceptions.
The researchers conducted a survey using face-to-face interviews, questionnaires, and phone calls in Accra.
Their results showed that 82.5% of participants with formal education had very limited knowledge about forensic science. The participants were largely not even aware that forensic procedures included the common practice of analysing fingerprints.
A few who did know about forensic science had learnt about it from television series and documentaries. The researchers reported that 81.5% of their participants said the state of forensics in Ghana was bad, while only 10.5% said it was good, and 8% said it was very bad.
They also noted that forensic knowledge, awareness and perceptions were influenced by the participants’ level of education.
During the study, many participants became interested in forensics and said it could help in justice delivery in Ghana. Only a few, 13%, were against it.
The researchers said the government of Ghana should enforce forensic science if they want to achieve peace and security.
They recommended that similar studies be done in other parts of Ghana. The researchers also recommended that the government should prioritise forensic science in Ghana by teaching the subject at all school levels, and by establishing a forensic science institution.
Forensic science applications in criminal investigation are very profound to crime resolution. However, there is a wide gap between the application of specialist skills and public knowledge and awareness of forensic science in criminal investigations and it has generated complex practical problems in justice delivery in Ghana. The study attempts to assess the state of forensic support to criminal investigations by accessing public knowledge and perception of forensic science in Ghana. To this account, an elaborate and tortuous survey was conductedusing200 consented respondents in selected neighborhoods in Accra based on homogeneity, population density, economic or industrial activities,and the nature of crime and police activities. The survey included face to face interviews, questionnaire responding, and random phone calls. The final data which was subjected to a simple linear regression model were analyzed with STATA13. The study revealed that indeed, forensic science in Ghana has "gone dark" as 165(82.5%) who had a formal education of various levels had very limited knowledge about forensic science and procedures. The majority of the respondents 179(89.5%) had no idea about forensics and for that matter lacked awareness of forensics in Ghana before the research while the state of forensics in Ghana was rated on the scale of good (10.5%), bad (81.5%) and very bad (8%) out of the 200 respondents with the respondent level of education, perception, knowledge,and awareness of forensic science and support significantly impacting the wellbeing of the research.The findings of this study call for government and respective stakeholders and policymakers of various institutions,and the adversarial system of Ghana to prioritize the need for forensic science. This is to support criminal investigations to assure the Ghanaian citizens of their safety, security, and fundamental Human rights to justice.
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