Within the German-funded project entitled ‘Combat of Illicit Arms and Ammunition Trafficking in Latin America and the Caribbean’, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) in coordination with the Colombian National Taxes and Customs Administration (DIAN) carried out its eighth edition of Interdicting Small Arms, Ammunition, Parts and Components (ISAAP) Course in the region from 12 to 16 August in Bogotá.

The aim of this five-day course is to support Latin American States efforts to mitigate and prevent the diversion and illicit trafficking of firearms, ammunition, parts and components through postal shipments, parcels and baggage by providing specialized x-ray identification training.

The course is aimed at X-ray screening operators and support personnel with responsibilities in control and inspection at points of entry, exit and transit as well as other security check points. Thirty-seven (37) screening operators and customs officials from different DIAN units such as the Postal Traffic Division, Cargo, Passenger Management, Imports, and the Special Administrative Unit attended the course. Also participating were officials from the Fiscal and Customs Police (POLFA).

Through a theoretical and practical methodology, participants received specialized training on technical specifications of small arms, their parts, components, ammunition and explosives as well as on elements related to the interpretation of X-ray images that may suggest the presence of a threat. In addition, participants had access to a training platform developed by the Center for Adaptive Security Research and Applications (CASRA), which contains a repository of images developed by UNLIREC. The course also included a series of simulations of concealment methods and practical exercises aimed at boost operator’s capacities to identify and detect positive threats when performing their roles and duties.

Participants stressed the importance of having specialized and continuous training, as well as the added value of this course to improve their detection capacities and interdiction practices in support of the prevention and combat of illicit trafficking of small arms, ammunition, parts and components in the country.

The implementation of this course is possible thanks to the financial support of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany.