UNLIREC carries out firearm examiner training with Firearm Technicians in the Royal Bahamas Police Force

From 18-29 March, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in collaboration with the Royal Bahamas Police Force, commenced the second phase of firearm examiner training, which focuses on in-situ field visits, training on comparison microscopy for the examination of firearm and ammunition evidence, including bullets and cartridge cases.

UNLIREC’s current project on Combatting Illicit Firearms and Ammunition Trafficking in the Caribbean Through Operational Forensic Ballistics, seeks to provide States with more in-depth forensic ballistic training. In 2018, the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) identified a human resource requirement to enhance the capacity of the current firearms technicians so that they may eventually become competent reporting officers, capable of signing off on forensic reports. Six technicians from the Royal Bahamas Police Force participated in this training. Topics covered included examination of fired ammunition components and comparative toolmark examinations.

During Phase 1 and 2 of the Operational Forensic Ballistic assistance package, Bahamas received support through, inter alia, training in forensic ballistic Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), the development of an internal testing tool to prepare firearm examiners for proficiency testing, and firearms and ammunition evidence management. This current assistance is made possible thanks to the support of the government of the United States of America.

UNLIREC, as the regional organ of the UN Office for Disarmament, seeks to advance the cause of practical disarmament in Latin America and the Caribbean as part of its commitment to support Member States in their implementation of international disarmament and non-proliferation instruments, in particular, the 2001 UN Programme of Action on Small Arms.

UNLIREC carries out third Sub-Regional Meeting on Forensic Ballistics

From 16-17 May 2018, UNLIREC carried out its third sub-regional meeting for Caribbean States on forensic ballistics at its headquarters in Lima, Peru. The meeting built upon two previous regional encounters held in Trinidad and Tobago in 2016 and the Dominican Republic in 2017 where States highlighted the need for improved sharing of ballistics information at national and regional levels.

Over 35 State representatives, ballistic experts and international organizations were present, including INTERPOL and CARICOM IMPACS. The two-day meeting focused on leveraging ballistic data to combat gun crime and illicit firearms trafficking, improving coordination and ballistic information sharing among agencies as well as integrating quality controls and standard operating procedures in laboratories across the region. The event formed part of UNLIREC’s region-wide assistance package on operational forensic ballistics which is funded by the governments of Canada and the United States.

Eight Caribbean Member States, including Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago, were represented at both the operational and policy levels. Participants highlighted current practices in, inter alia, firearms tracing as well as ballistic information sharing via the use of double casts and equipment previously provided by UNLIREC during project implementation. The need to improve the communication and coordination between forensic units and criminal investigative departments was underscored as a way to ensure that the forensic data and intelligence currently being generated is effectively utilized.

Representatives spoke on the progress made by their respective States since the inception of UNLIREC´s Assistance Package as well as on the resource challenges being faced by firearms examiners and forensic personnel in terms of human resource capacity; laboratory accreditation and quality management; and technology.

UNLIREC, as the regional organ of the UN Office for Disarmament, seeks to advance the cause of practical disarmament in Latin America and the Caribbean as part of its commitment to support Member States in their implementation of international disarmament and non-proliferation instruments, in particular, the 2001 UN Programme of Action on Small Arms.

UNLIREC carries out Shooting Incident Reconstruction training in Trinidad and Tobago

From 23 – 27 October, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) delivered its pilot Shooting Incident Reconstruction training in the Caribbean, in Trinidad and Tobago.

Six participants, among them Firearm Examiners and Crime Scene Investigators of the Trinidad and Tobago Forensic Science Centre (TTFSC) and the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) participated in the 5-day Training.

The Caribbean region continues to face persistent levels of armed violence, illicit trafficking of firearms and ammunition, and impunity in firearm related crimes. The increase of organized crime-related cases, sophisticated criminal networks and lack of trust in state institutions have made the general population less likely to come forward when witnessing firearms-related cases, thereby increasing the caseloads and responsibilities of firearms and tool mark examiners, crime scene officers and investigators. Strengthening countries’ forensic ballistic investigative capabilities is essential to advancing the rule of law and to decrease impunity in firearms related cases.

The shooting incident reconstruction course was designed for firearms and tool mark examiners, crime scene and other law enforcement personnel who are responsible for investigating or overseeing the investigation of shooting incidents. The course will assist national authorities to connect all the pieces of forensic evidence necessary for the reconstruction of shooting crime scenes, including: documenting physical evidence at shooting crime scenes; determining the flight path of projectiles; examining firearm discharge residue to estimate distance from the shooter to the victim/ and or final target.

The Pilot Exercise is subject to review, modification and correction by national authorities and by UNLIREC where necessary. Topics covered included health and safety in the forensic process, collecting and preserving evidence, diagraming the shooting scene, computer uses in shooting reconstruction, identifying bullet holes, determining bullet trajectory, exterior ballistics and bullet impacts and ricochet and sequence of fire, amongst others.

Equipment used in the training, resource material and reference targets with sample bullet holes were handed over to the Government of Trinidad and Tobago.

UNLIREC, as the regional organ of the UN Office for Disarmament, seeks to advance the cause of practical disarmament in Latin America and the Caribbean as part of its commitment to support Member States in their implementation of international disarmament and non-proliferation instruments, in particular, the 2001 UN Programme of Action on Small Arms.

UNLIREC carries out Double Cast Training in Guyana

From 10 – 13 July, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), together with ARQUEBUS Solutions Ltd, delivered Double Cast training to five participants from Guyana in Georgetown.

The participants, among them firearm examiners from the Guyana Police Force and Scientific Officers from the Guyana Forensic Science Laboratory, participated in the 4-day Training, based on INTERPOL’s Double Casting methodology.

Double casting increases the ability of national authorities to make connections between crime and crime scenes, nationally, regionally and internationally. The training sought to build capacity in the region to create microscopic replicas of projectiles and cartridge cases that can be peer reviewed and uploaded to a Ballistics Identification Network or shared across jurisdictions for comparison without disturbing the chain of custody of the original evidence.

Equipment used in the training as well as consumables to conduct further, practical double casting of projectiles were handed over to the Government of Guyana.

Double Cast Training is part of UNLIREC’s Caribbean Operational Forensic Ballistics Assistance Package, which is made possible thanks to the support of the US Department of State and the Government of Canada. This training was the sixth and final double cast training delivered by UNLIREC. Four similar activities were delivered to national authorities in Bahamas, Barbados, Belize and Trinidad and Tobago as well as a sub-regional workshop to participants from Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

UNLIREC, as the regional organ of the UN Office for Disarmament, seeks to advance the cause of practical disarmament in Latin America and the Caribbean as part of its commitment to support Member States in their implementation of international disarmament and non-proliferation instruments, in particular, the 2001 UN Programme of Action on Small Arms.

UNLIREC and Central American States discuss importance of sharing ballistics evidence and information

From 21 – 24 August, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), together with the government of the Dominican Republic, carried out three activities aimed at strengthening forensic ballistics capacities in the region.

From 21-22 August, UNLIREC carried out technical assessments of the ballistics laboratories at the National Forensic Science Institute (INACIF) in Santiago de los Caballeros and Santo Domingo, as well as the Scientific Police ballistics laboratory. The results of which were discussed during a national roundtable held on 24 August, with government stakeholders.

On 23 August, UNLIREC organized a regional meeting with representatives from Central America and the Dominican Republic to discuss opportunities for the sharing of information and ballistics evidence both within and among States. 21 officials from the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras participated in this roundtable. The exchange of ballistics information and evidence increases the capacity of authorities to make connections between crimes and crime scenes, nationally, regionally and internationally, and ultimately allows for a reduction in impunity in firearms-related cases. Representatives also benefited from a visit to the Ballistics and Biometric Laboratory of the National Arms System (LABBS) to observe best practices and discuss firearms registries.

These initiatives are part of UNLIREC’s Caribbean Operational Forensic Ballistics Assistance Package, which is made possible thanks to the support of the US Department of State and the Government of Canada.

UNLIREC, as the regional organ of the UN Office for Disarmament, seeks to advance the cause of practical disarmament in Latin America and the Caribbean as part of its commitment to support Member States in their implementation of international disarmament and non-proliferation instruments, in particular, the UN 2001 Programme of Action on Small Arms.