From 8-12 March 2021, 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, the Government of the United Kingdom (UK) hosted an Executive Seminar and on-line National Forensic Ballistic Intelligence Course in Trinidad and Tobago.

The one-day Executive Seminar (8 March) focused on Ballistic Intelligence and how this is applied in several national jurisdictions. Members of the Executive and Senior Leadership from the Police Service, Forensic Science Centre, Customs and Excise Department, Strategic Services Agency and Ministry of National Security participated in the event. The on-line National Forensic Ballistic Intelligence Course was delivered to operational personnel, investigators, analysts and scientific officers (9-12 March). The virtual training focused on enhancing the role of forensic laboratories in firearms investigations. The course sought to strengthen coordination between forensic laboratories and criminal investigation units and showcased how ballistics intelligence can provide key insight into criminal investigations and generate investigative leads. In total, 35 male and 20 females attended the Ballistics Intelligence activities.

Technological advances in the field of forensic firearm identification have enhanced forensic analysis in the same way that a comparison microscope improved human capacity for observation in past decades. It has improved the ability of forensic units to manage large volumes of information generated therein. Despite technological development, there is and will always be a fundamental requirement for skilled examiners and laboratory personnel, capable of examining, analyzing and handling firearms and ammunition evidence.

Hence, it is essential that the results of the ballistics section are disseminated and analyzed together with the information and intelligence from other analytical and investigative units, for example, geographical data on firearm incidents, or information found on the outside of a firearm, to support and improve investigations.

These activities were made possible thanks to the support of the UK government and included experts from the UK’s National Ballistics Intelligence Service, the US Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives and the International Police Organization (INTERPOL).

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.