From 26 June – 6 July, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), together with ARQUEBUS Solutions Ltd, delivered two double cast training courses in Barbados to thirteen participants from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Five participants, including four examiners and one IBIS technician, received training from 26-29 June, during UNLIREC´s national double cast training course for Barbados. Five police armourers, two police drug detectives and one forensic technologist from the Royal Police Forces of Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and the St Vincent Forensic Drug Laboratory, participated in the sub-regional training during the 3-6 July. The training provided was 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 an Automated Ballistics Identification Network, stored in an Open Case File or shared across jurisdictions for comparison without disturbing the chain of custody of the original evidence.

Double Casting is a two step-process that requires a silicone mould to be made of a fired bullet or cartridge case; a resin cast is then made using the silicone mould created. Ballistic projectiles are mounted in a secured cup or mould box before pouring the silicone to make the mould. The moulds are then placed in a degassing chamber to remove air bubbles, taken out of the chamber, and cured for 15 hours. The cured mould is then removed from the cup or box and the specimen extracted. Next, the silicone mould is filled with casting resin, pressurized in a pressure pot, removed and the cured resin cast demoulded. The resin bullet and cartridge castings are then ready for ballistics imaging or microscope examination and comparison.

Equipment used in the training as well as consumables to conduct further double casting of cartridge cases or projectiles, were handed over to the Government of Barbados for continued ballistics support to the Eastern Caribbean States. Double casting equipment will also be donated to each of the four States that participated in the training, to allow them to build capacity and make replicas of bullets and cartridge cases that can be shared across jurisdictions.

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.

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.