From 4-8 November 2019, 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, led discussions on enhancing firearms-related investigations. This event forms part of the response to effectively addressing existing gaps in the overall management of the lifecycle of a firearm. This lifecycle ranges from the moment a firearm is confiscated or found at the crime scene to the moment it is presented in court as evidence and – ultimately – to its final destruction.
Caribbean States concur that other existing challenges exist throughout the region, such as inadequate communication between investigators and laboratory analysts; ballistic intelligence leads provided to investigative units that are not actioned; leads submitted many years after the original gun crime; and insufficient firearm examiners to analyse the firearms-related evidence. As such, the UNLIREC-led event was intended to enhance coordination, as well as to carry out deeper analysis among the key stakeholders to address any existing gaps and consequently reduce impunity in firearms-related cases.
6 senior law enforcement officials – comprised of the heads of the Police Scientific Support Service, Central Intelligence Bureau, Drug Enforcement Unit, Firearms Tracing & Investigation Unit, Strategic Policy, Planning & Research Branch and Communication &Technology Branch and the Customs Enforcement Division – actively participated in the three-days of meetings, culminating in the roundtable. During the event, UNLIREC led discussions on reviewing current practices in the Bahamas regarding crime gun intelligence management, specifically ballistics intelligence, and presented ways in which ballistic intelligence can be more effectively utilized. The usefulness of ballistic intelligence for enhancing investigations and disrupting trafficking networks was also the focus of dialogue, as were process flows and data on the recovery, forensic processing, international tracing, investigation, and prosecution and trafficking of illicit firearms. The Bahamas also presented on its use of technology to combat firearms criminality. The event concluded with the development of recommendations that can assist in combatting armed violence and firearms trafficking.
This Inter Institutional Roundtable in The Bahamas was 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 instruments, in particular, the UN 2001 Programme of Action on Small Arms.