Police officers of Bahamas, Barbados and Grenada trained to restore serial numbers on firearms

Police officers of Bahamas, Barbados and Grenada trained to restore serial numbers on firearms

On 29 August and from 5 to 7 September, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in collaboration with the Governments of the Bahamas, Barbados and Grenada, carried out a Serial Number Restoration Course.

In the Caribbean, several factors hinder States to trace one hundred percent of its recovered, illicit firearms, including the age of the firearm, ineffective procedures, and the absence of serial numbers on firearms. Obliterating serial numbers on firearms is a common practice for criminals to mask their origin, facilitate trafficking and their illegal use. UNLIREC has been training Caribbean law enforcement and forensic officials to restore obliterated serial numbers to support criminal investigations, successfully trace weapons and even disband trafficking networks.

The recent four-day course consisted of recorded videos, live online demonstrations, as well as the hands-on use of Magnaflux and Chemical Etching to restore/recover serial numbers from firearms that have been submitted for analysis .

Fourteen officials, including three women, from the Royal Grenada Police Force, Barbados Police Service and Royal Bahamas Police Force participated in the training. “[…] we are now better equipped to use this additional technique in restoring obliterated serial numbers not only from firearms but also from vehicles and equipment which carry serial numbers”, a participant noted.

UNLIREC, as the regional centre of the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs, seeks to advance the cause of practical disarmament in Latin America and the Caribbean as part of its commitment to support Member States.

The Regional Serial Number Restoration Course contributes towards the implementation of Goal 3 of the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap, “Bolster law enforcement capacity to combat illicit firearms and ammunition trafficking and their illicit possession and misuse, and ammunition, and ultimately reducing firearms-related crimes and armed violence in the Caribbean”.

This activity was funded by the United States of America and contributes to the implementation of international disarmament and non-proliferation instruments, in particular, the 2001 UN Programme of Action on Small Arms.

Jamaica: UNLIREC hosts training to reduce effects of armed violence

Jamaica: UNLIREC hosts training to reduce effects of armed violence

From 15 to 18 August, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in collaboration with the Government of Jamaica, carried out the National Ballistics Intelligence Management Course, that contributes to reducing the effects of armed violence and gun crimes by strengthening capacities to combat illicit trafficking in firearms and ammunition.

The 4-day training course covered modules on Firearms and Ammunition identification and classification, Chain of Custody, Sources of Ballistic information, Ballistic information management and analysis and Ballistic Intelligence.

The Ballistics Intelligence Management course benefits law enforcement and other officials involved in the investigation and prosecution of gun crimes; including first responders, criminal investigators, forensic analysts, laboratory technicians, customs officials, intelligence officers, prosecutors, judges and other personnel working with firearms registries. In Jamaica, twenty-three officials, including eight women, from the Ministry of National Security, Jamaica Constabulary Force, Jamaica Customs Authority and Institute of Forensic Science and Legal Medicine participated in the training.

“[The course] planning and delivery of the practical exercise was very informative. I enjoyed it very much. It demonstrates the collaborative effort that is needed to address the issue of crime and firearms trafficking around the world.”, indicated a participant.

The course sensitizes participants to the importance of the involvement of and interaction between different authorities as part of the evidence management and ballistic intelligence cycle. The training focused in particular on enhancing the role of forensic laboratories in firearms investigations, including the generation of investigative leads and seeks to strengthen the coordination between forensic laboratories and investigative units.

The National Ballistics Intelligence Management Course contributes to the implementation of Goal 3 of the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap which seeks to “Bolster law enforcement capacity to combat illicit firearms and ammunition trafficking and their illicit possession and misuse, and ammunition, and ultimately reducing firearms-related crimes and armed violence in the Caribbean.”

UNLIREC is one of three regional centre of the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs and seeks to advance the cause of practical disarmament in Latin America and the Caribbean as part of its commitment to support Member States.

This activity was made possible with funding from the United States of America and contributes to the implementation of international disarmament and non-proliferation instruments, in particular, the 2001 UN Programme of Action on Small Arms.

UNLIREC hands over Double Casting Kit and hosts Double Cast Training for Trinidad and Tobago

UNLIREC hands over Double Casting Kit and hosts Double Cast Training for Trinidad and Tobago

From 8 to 10 August 2022, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) delivered its Double Casting Course and handed over one Double Casting Kit and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for double casting procedures to Trinidad and Tobago.

Double casting increases the ability of forensic experts to make connections between crime and crime scenes. Double casting consists of making a silicone mold of a fired bullet or cartridge case and then, using the mold, creating a replica of that bullet /cartridge case. The duplicate can be used for ballistics imaging, microscope examination and comparison.

During the course, twelve officials from the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service and Forensic Science Centre learned about the practice of Double Casting and the importance of sharing relevant findings and information between national agencies and beyond. “[The course] provided a unique opportunity to dive further into an aspect of Forensic Science […] with regional cooperation in mind, and provide valuable intelligence to regional partners”, indicated a participant.

Double casts, or replica, of bullets and cartridges cases can be sent to other jurisdictions or countries in lieu of original evidence for comparison and potential linkage to other crimes, while preserving the chain of custody of the original evidence and enabling forensic laboratories to provide valuable investigative leads to police. It is also useful when a particular country or agency does not have access to an Automated Ballistics Identification System (ABIS).

The Double Casting course is based on INTERPOL’s Ballistics Information Network (IBIN) validated method but also allows scope for the use of other materials that provide satisfactory results. The SOP provided to participants includes a synopsis of several of the most common double casting procedures for use with ABIS and general comparison microscopy purposes.

UNLIREC, as one of three regional centres of the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs, seeks to advance arms control in Latin America and the Caribbean as part of its commitment to support Member States.

The Double Cast activities contribute towards the implementation of the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap, in particular Goal 2 “to reduce the illicit flow of firearms and ammunition into, within and beyond the region” and Goal 3, “Bolster law enforcement capacity to combat illicit firearms and ammunition trafficking and their illicit possession and misuse, and ammunition, and ultimately reducing firearms-related crimes and armed violence in the Caribbean.”

This activity was funded by the United States of America and contributes to the implementation of international arms control instruments, in particular the 2001 UN Programme of Action on Small Arms.

Haiti finalizes National Action Plan On Firearms after welcoming second in-person mission from UNLIREC

Haiti finalizes National Action Plan On Firearms after welcoming second in-person mission from UNLIREC

Haiti concluded the preparation of its National Action Plan (NAP) and a baseline assessment for the ‘Roadmap for Implementing the Caribbean Priority Actions on the Illicit Proliferation of Firearms and Ammunition across the Caribbean in a Sustainable Manner by 2030’ (Caribbean Firearms Roadmap), following a series of preliminary virtual sessions and four in-person roundtables organized by the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) over the past months.

Work on those milestone achievements culminated during the latest in-person visit by UNLIREC to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, from 12 to 14 July 2022. During the visit, UNLIREC support authorities to complete the assessment of standards and practices linked to Goal 4 of the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap, which seeks to systematically decrease the risk of diversion of firearms and ammunition from government- and non-government-owned arsenals. This includes work on the physical security and stockpile management of small arms.

Representatives of the Ministries of Justice, Interior, Foreign Affairs, Youth, Sports and Social action, the National Commission for Disarmament, Dismantlement and Reinsertion (also representing the Ministry of Defense), the Police, Customs, and the Port Authority showed great interest in the technical presentations delivered in this context and were given the opportunity to provide feedback on the national priorities identified during the overall NAP drafting process.

Work on the NAP had started earlier in 2022 and had garnered significant momentum during UNLIREC´s previous mission to Haiti in May. The final draft of the NAP is now being submitted for formal approval to the Prime Minister, after which the implementation phase of the Roadmap can begin, possibly as early as this year.

Haiti is the 12th country to complete the drafting process of a NAP which confirms States´ commitments to and priorities under the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap adopted in 2020 as a regional umbrella framework by all CARICOM States and the Dominican Republic. The Roadmap includes commitments to implement a series of Goals and actions to tackle illicit firearms trafficking and make the Caribbean a safer region.

UNLIREC´s support to Haiti is funded by the Governments of the United States and Germany and is carried out in close collaboration with the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH). In July 2022, the United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 2645 (2022) welcomed the Roadmap and requested relevant UN agencies, such as UNLIREC, to support Haitian national authorities in combating the illicit trafficking and diversion of arms and related materiel.

Caribbean Firearms Roadmap: UNLIREC holds Monitoring and Evaluation Roundtable Meetings with Trinidad and Tobago and Grenada

Caribbean Firearms Roadmap: UNLIREC holds Monitoring and Evaluation Roundtable Meetings with Trinidad and Tobago and Grenada

On 28 June 2022 in Trinidad and Tobago; and from 30 June to 1 July  2022 in Grenada, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) hosted  Monitoring and Evaluation Roundtable meetings for the advancement of Grenada and Trinidad and Tobago’s National Action Plans and baseline assessments for the implementation of the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap.

Twenty-one national representatives from the Ministry of National Security, Ministry for Foreign and CARICOM Affairs, Trinidad and Tobago Police Force, Trinidad and Tobago Forensic Science Centre, Customs and Excise, Trinidad and Tobago Defense Force, Strategic Services Agency, Ministry of Attorney General and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Judiciary and Prisons participated in Trinidad and Tobago.

In Grenada, thirteen national representatives from the Royal Grenada Police Force, Customs and Excise Division, Her Majesty’s Prison and Grenada Airports Authority took part in the two-day event at the Coyaba Hotel.

During the sessions, the Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap initiative was presented, including a review of the regional key performance indicators and national level indicators. A thorough baseline assessment was conducted under the four goals of the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap and clarity was provided on the reporting styles and timelines for submissions. Both Trinidad and Tobago and Grenada completed a significant proportion of their baseline assessments and will now finalise the assessment through a follow-up mechanism.

What is the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap?

The Caribbean Firearms Roadmap is a regional umbrella framework adopted by CARICOM States and the Dominican Republic in 2020, in which States commit themselves to implement actions against illicit firearms trafficking and make the Caribbean a safer region. To date, 16 countries in the region have formally adopted the Roadmap and begun the process of identifying their national priorities via a National Action Plan (NAP). There is commitment across the region to implement sustainable solutions to the prevention and combat of illicit proliferation of firearms and ammunition that are consistent with international norms and the Caribbean context.

This activity was made possible with funding from the Government of Canada and was carried out in line with the 2001 UN Programme of Action on Small Arms and with 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular Goal 16 and target 16.4.