From 7 – 10 March, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), delivered a Cartridge Case Triage Course in Trinidad and Tobago.

One of the critical components of a successful preventive crime gun intelligence program is comprehensive data collection of firearm-related evidence and rapid dissemination of results. The cornerstone of such a program is ballistic imaging technology. To maximize the effectiveness of such technology it is essential that fired cartridge cases from crime scenes and recovered firearms be acquired quickly with as few replicates as possible, which will dilute the database, reducing its effectiveness. A recognized process to accomplish this is to triage the multiple recovered cartridge cases for purposes of maximizing effectiveness and efficiency.

The course objective was to familiarize the participants with marking and class characteristics present on cartridge cases; assess the cartridge cases using a stereo microscope; sort the cartridge cases in sample groups of similar characteristics; and prioritize cartridge cases to be entered into the Integrated Ballistics Identification System (IBIS).

Twenty-two officials, including ten women, from the Trinidad and Tobago Forensic Science Centre and Police Service participated in the training. The course consisted of a theoretical presentation by UNLIREC, followed by group work to assess and sort 75 double cast cartridge case replicas, using a stereo microscope and subsequently prioritize the cartridge cases to be entered into IBIS. The participants successfully prioritized firearms to be entered into IBIS.

The Cartridge Case Triage course contributes towards the implementation of Goal 3 of the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap, 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. The course was made possible thanks to support of the government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

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.