UNLIREC carries out forensic ballistics collaborative competency testing exercise in Jamaica

From 8 to 11 of 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 pilot forensic ballistics collaborative competency testing exercise. These exercises are part of the third round of implementation under the framework of the 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.

The collaborative exercises are a series of practical and multiple choice exercises on the competencies of: small arms ammunition examination, examination of firearms and their components and trigger pull and travel examination. The exercises – based on UNLIREC’s standard operating procedures – were developed as a preparatory step for a regional framework of competency testing, at the same time, they can be used as an internal assessment tool for the forensic science institutes and laboratories of the region.

During this process, four firearms examiners from the Institute of Forensic Science and Legal Medicine of Jamaica were assessed, as well as one participant from the Firearms Licensing Authority. These assessments also support the internal identification of existing gaps in competency testing.

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 Trinidad and Tobago increase forensic ballistic capacity in the country

From 26 June to 1 July 2016, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in collaboration with the government of Trinidad and Tobago, carried out a three-day training course, a technical assessment of national capabilities and infrastructures, and a seminar for the institutional clients of firearms forensic ballistics in Port of Spain. These clients included officials from the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, members of the Judiciary, prosecutors, among others.

The three-day training course on operational forensic ballistics enabled 12 participants, including firearms examiners, armourers and technicians to increase their knowledge on topics, such as firearms and ammunition identification and examination, comparison microscopy, range of fire determination. The course included a simulation of the presentation of expert testimony of forensic ballistic evidence in a court of law and provided the opportunity for participants to exchange best practices and challenges faced in the field.

The national assessment, carried out in cooperation with the Trinidad and Tobago Forensic Science Centre took into consideration the occupational health and safety of the firearms examiners (e.g. lead contamination), adequate protective equipment, firearms safety protocols, evidence management, as well as the continuing education plans for firearm examiners and other law enforcement personnel. The main recommendations of the assessment will be integrated in the two year capacity-building work plan for forensic ballistics.

The seminar raised the awareness of 24 institutional clients of firearms forensic ballistics on the strengths and shortcomings of forensic ballistics in support of building court cases, as well as in generating intelligence to identify sources and routes used for illicit arms trafficking. In addition, UNLIREC staff provided a review of best practices in forensic ballistics analysis and investigative techniques.

This initiative is part of the UNLIREC Caribbean Operational Forensic Ballistics Assistance Package, which is made possible thanks to the support of the US Department of State.

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 hosts international expert meeting to develop and promote proficiency testing among forensic ballistics professionals

From 27 to 28 of April, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), held an expert meeting on competency and proficiency testing for firearms and toolmark examiners in the context of its Operational Forensic Ballistics Assistance Package in Lima, Peru. This assistance package aims to enhance the capabilities of eight Caribbean countries to implement operational forensic ballistic (OFB) investigation strategies amidst broader efforts to combat illicit small arms trafficking and impunity in cases of armed violence.

The gathering brought together specialists from the American Association of Firearms and Toolmark Examiners (AFTE), the European Network of Forensic Scientists (ENFSI), CARICOM IMPACS, representatives of graduate programmes in forensic sciences from the University of the West Indies and the University of Santo Domingo with government representatives from Barbados, Dominican Republic, Jamaica Trinidad and Tobago and the United States Bureau for Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). UNLIREC proposals for hands-on competency testing in the Caribbean were discussed in the context of existing state-centred and private testing frameworks.

Beginning in the second semester of 2016, UNLIREC will be piloting Forensic Ballistics Collaborative Exercises to evaluate government examiners abilities to undertake firearms, ammunition and trigger pull examination in line with established Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). It is hoped such exercises will complement written and practical tests administered online or by correspondence and build Caribbean laboratories capacity to evaluate their own staff. Competency and/or proficiency testing combined with the use of written SOPs are the building blocks of forensic ballistics quality managements systems.

This expert meeting was made possible thanks to the support of the US Department of State and the Government of Canada´s Anti-Crime Capacity Building Programme.

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.

For more information on UNLIREC visit (www.unlirec.org). Please direct all questions or inquiries to Amanda Cowl, Political Affairs Officer (cowl@unlirec.org).

UNLIREC carries out a Caribbean Regional Encounter on Forensic Ballistics in Trinidad and Tobago

From 5-6 December, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) with the support of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and CARICOM’s Caribbean Community Implementation Agency for Crime and Security carried out a Caribbean Regional Encounter on Forensic Ballistics in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

The purpose of the Regional Encounter was to highlight the importance of quality management systems in laboratories, as well as to advance and support the Regional Integrated Ballistics Information Network (RIBIN), and develop formal relationships at the policy/technical levels among Caribbean States.

The event formed part of UNLIREC’s region-wide assistance package on operational forensic ballistics, designed to complement other bilateral, regional and international initiatives’. This package, funded by the governments of Canada and the United States, contemplates collaboration with designated national authorities to undertake forensic ballistics capabilities assessments; provide basic and advanced training for firearms and toolmark examiners; raise awareness among institutional clients of forensic ballistics; provide basic laboratory material; and support the incorporation of written standard operating procedures into existing systems.

Participants at the Regional encounter included Permanent Secretaries, Directors of Civilian Forensic Laboratories, Heads of Police Crime Laboratories, Senior Firearms Examiners and other policy personnel from several states including: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent, and Trinidad and Tobago. Other Institutional Participants included representatives from the ATF, INTERPOL, CARICOM IMPACS and UNLIREC.

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 carried out pilot competency-based exercises on forensic ballistics in the Bahamas

From 5 to 9 of September, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in collaboration with the Government of the Bahamas, carried out the pilot forensic ballistics collaborative competency testing exercise. These exercises form part of the third round of implementation under the framework of the 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.

The collaborative exercises are a series of practical and multiple choice questions on the competencies of small arms ammunition examination, examination of firearms and their components and trigger pull and travel examination. The exercises – based on UNLIREC’s standard operating procedures – were developed as a preparatory step for a regional framework of competency testing, at the same time, they can be used as an internal assessment tool for the forensic science institutes and laboratories of the region.

During this process, four police officers from the Scientific Support Services were assessed. These assessments also support the internal identification of existing gaps in competency testing for forensic ballistics.

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.