From 8 to 10 August 2022, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) delivered its Double Casting Course and handed over one Double Casting Kit and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for double casting procedures to Trinidad and Tobago.

Double casting increases the ability of forensic experts to make connections between crime and crime scenes. Double casting consists of making a silicone mold of a fired bullet or cartridge case and then, using the mold, creating a replica of that bullet /cartridge case. The duplicate can be used for ballistics imaging, microscope examination and comparison.

During the course, twelve officials from the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service and Forensic Science Centre learned about the practice of Double Casting and the importance of sharing relevant findings and information between national agencies and beyond. “[The course] provided a unique opportunity to dive further into an aspect of Forensic Science […] with regional cooperation in mind, and provide valuable intelligence to regional partners”, indicated a participant.

Double casts, or replica, of bullets and cartridges cases can be sent to other jurisdictions or countries in lieu of original evidence for comparison and potential linkage to other crimes, while preserving the chain of custody of the original evidence and enabling forensic laboratories to provide valuable investigative leads to police. It is also useful when a particular country or agency does not have access to an Automated Ballistics Identification System (ABIS).

The Double Casting course is based on INTERPOL’s Ballistics Information Network (IBIN) validated method but also allows scope for the use of other materials that provide satisfactory results. The SOP provided to participants includes a synopsis of several of the most common double casting procedures for use with ABIS and general comparison microscopy purposes.

UNLIREC, as one of three regional centres of the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs, seeks to advance arms control in Latin America and the Caribbean as part of its commitment to support Member States.

The Double Cast activities contribute towards the implementation of the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap, in particular Goal 2 “to reduce the illicit flow of firearms and ammunition into, within and beyond the region” and Goal 3, “Bolster law enforcement capacity to combat illicit firearms and ammunition trafficking and their illicit possession and misuse, and ammunition, and ultimately reducing firearms-related crimes and armed violence in the Caribbean.”

This activity was funded by the United States of America and contributes to the implementation of international arms control instruments, in particular the 2001 UN Programme of Action on Small Arms.