General News of 2014-01-17

Crime fighting gets boost; fingerprints now automated

The Ghana Police Service has automated the Fingerprint Unit of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), as part of efforts to boost fight against crime.

With the automation, verifying fingerprints to ensure speedy investigations and background checks on suspected criminals can now be done within a day or two.

The police, as a result of the automation, have succeeded in resolving 20 high-profile cases which would have taken a longer period to deal with. Also, 65 suspects involved in the cases have been arrested.

Some of the cases had occurred before the automation project started in 2011.

Fingerprints from 1925

The project has made it possible to upload almost all fingerprints and criminal records gathered since 1925. The process is termed profiling of people.

The Commissioner of Police (COP) in charge of the CID, Mr Prosper Agblor, told the Daily Graphic that with the automation of the Fingerprints Unit, the staff only needed to scan and feed an impression into the system for it to automatically generate a report to indicate if it matched an existing fingerprint or not.

That, he said, was an improvement over the old manual system where personnel had to search for files before using a magnifying glass to search the database and classify fingerprints before doing any matching of fingerprints.

Holding on to manual fingerprints

Mr Agblor also said the CID was, however, keeping the manual fingerprints as a backup in the event of any disaster or challenge that might arise.

He added that although some owners of the fingerprints might be dead, the department was keeping them for teaching and record-keeping purposes. According to him, when the fingerprint impressions were listed on the system, it automatically searched the' database to establish any fingerprint match or mismatch, to quicken investigations.

On the automation of the criminal record system, he said it had made the profiling of people very easy.

The Spanish government sponsored project, Mr Agblor said, had also made it faster to pick up people with criminal records.

He said all those measures were enhancing criminal investigations and had contributed greatly to the turnaround of investigations.

Training

Six hundred and seventy-nine detectives of the CID have been trained on the automated system since 2011, while mobile training units have been established to provide training at the regional level.

A number of retraining programmes have also been organised for crime officers and detectives.

Mr Agblor indicated that the training was a way of motivating police personnel.

For effective investigation, the CID director said he insisted on teamwork by officers working on cases, particularly where there were fatalities involved.

"Mostly, murder cases are resolved best due to teamwork led by superior officers. We also have a review after each operation," Mr Agblor said.

Source: graphic.com.gh
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