Mindful of the problematic of illicit trafficking in small arms, ammunition and their parts and components by means of postal shipments, UNLIREC developed in 2016 a practical tool to improve the capacity of practitioners in relation to their interpretation of x-ray images and identification of possible concealment methods to prevent their diversion to the illicit traffic. In so doing, UNLIREC promotes the effective implementation of the United Nations Program of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (UN PoA 2001) and the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

Resulting from these efforts stands the Course for Interdicting Small Arms in Postal Shipments (ISAPS), which pilot edition was celebrated in San Jose, Costa Rica, from March 20 to 24 with the invaluable collaboration of Costa Rica’s Post Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Likewise, the opening ceremony enjoyed the participation of the Embassy of Germany, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Costa Rica’s Post Office, the Universal Postal Union and the Postal Union of the Americas, Spain and Portugal, with a representative of the latter acting as an observer during the course.

UNLIREC, thanks to the support of the Center for Adaptive Security Research and Applications (CASRA), designed a methodology that included training based on an electronic platform, theoretical presentations and a session on identifying concealment methods by means of an x-ray scanner. The ISAPS counted with the participation of 40 officials placed in entry and exit points with control responsibilities from Costa Rica’s Post Office, the Directorate of Intelligence and Security, Judicial Investigation Agency, Air Surveillance Service, National Customs Service, Ministry of Public Security and Fiscal Control Police.

Among the material provided for participants to consult, it must be highlighted as a fundamental pedagogical tool, the Arms, Ammunition, Parts and Components Identification Guide in which the operation and interpretation of images obtained by means of x-ray technology is addressed, and the main physical and material characteristics of arms, their parts and ammunition is collected, as well as their visualization through x-rays. The logical structure of the guide allows the user to become familiar with the physical appearance of arms, ammunition, parts and components and the equivalence with the images generated by the scanner.

UNLIREC thanks the contribution of the Federal Republic of Germany, which made possible the development of the Arms, Ammunition, Parts and Components Identification Guide and the organization of the ISAPS.