From 14-18 November, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) carried out its pilot forensic ballistics collaborative exercise in the Dominican Republic and Guyana. These exercises are a series of practical and paper-based assessments on the competencies of forensic examination of small arms ammunition, forensic examination of firearms and their components and trigger pull and travel examination. The exercises – based on UNLIREC’s standard operating procedures – were developed as a preparatory step for a regional framework of competency testing. These exercises also support the internal identification of existing gaps in skills, knowledge and procedures within firearms units in each State and may also be used as an internal assessment tool for the forensic science institutes and laboratories of the region.

Six members of the Scientific Police, the Ballistic and Biometric Lab of the National Firearms System, and the National Institute of Forensic Sciences in the Dominican Republic participated in this internal four-day assessment. At the same time, UNLIREC carried out the same exercise with the Guyana Police Crime Laboratory with four firearm examiners. These exercises form part of a third round of implementation under the framework of UNLIREC’s Caribbean Operational Forensic Ballistics Assistance Package, made possible thanks to the support of the US Department of State and 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.