From 24 – 26 January, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) carried out its pilot forensic ballistics collaborative exercise in Trinidad and Tobago.

Four members of the Trinidad and Tobago Forensic Science Centre (TTFSC) participated during the 3-day exercise. These exercises were the eighth and final piloting of Collaborative Exercises and are part of the third round of implementation under the framework of the UNLIREC’s Caribbean Operational Forensic Ballistics Assistance Package. The Assistance Package, which is made possible thanks to the support of the US Department of State and the Government of Canada, is being implemented in Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis and Trinidad and Tobago.

The collaborative exercises are a series of practical and paper-based assessments on the competencies of: forensic examination of small arms ammunition, forensic 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. These exercises may also be used as an internal assessment tool for the forensic science institutes and laboratories of the region.

During this process, all examiners were assessed. These assessments also support the internal identification of existing gaps in skills, knowledge and procedures within Firearms Units in each 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.