From 19 to 22 September, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in collaboration with the Government of Barbados, carried out its pilot forensic ballistics collaborative competency testing exercise. These exercises are part of the third round of implementation within 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.

These exercises comprise a series of practical and multiple choice questions 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 in an independent and continual manner.

During this process, four firearms examiners from the Royal Barbados Police Force 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.