From 9 – 12 November and from 15 – 18 November, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in collaboration with the Governments of Guyana and Antigua and Barbuda, hosted two Serial Number Restoration Courses.

Obliterating serial numbers on firearms to mask their origin facilitates trafficking and illegal use. Both common practices for criminals. The absence of serial numbers on firearms recovered at crime scenes in the Caribbean hinders the ability of States to trace all illicit firearms. Therefore, national serial number restoration courses were developed to support States’ efforts to address the fact that the forensic firearms scientist are often required to restore the characters and numbers that were obliterated.

In Guyana, twelve firearm examiners, police officers and scientific officers from the Guyana Police Force and Guyana Forensic Science Laboratory, took part in the Serial Number Restoration Course from 9 – 12 November. Similarly, in Antigua and Barbuda from 15 – 18 November, six police officers and forensic analysts from the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda and the Antigua and Barbuda Forensic Services took part in their national Serial Number Restoration Course. Both courses consisted of hands-on use of Magnetic Particle Recovery and Chemical Etching Methods to recover obliterated serial numbers on firearms.

Serial restoration has proven to be a key and necessary tool to trace firearms back to their last known legal owner and make use of the various regional and international tracing platforms. Throughout the region, restoration techniques have been used to support criminal investigations, successfully trace firearms and disband trafficking networks.

This course complemented recent initiatives undertaken by both Guyana and Antigua and Barbuda including their adoption of the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap and creation of National Action Plans. The Serial Number Restoration 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. Both activities were made possible thanks to support of 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.