From 23 to 25 August, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in collaboration with the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, held a series of hands-on forensic ballistics training exercises in Port of Spain. These exercises represent the second round of assistance to the country, within 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.

The training exercises enabled twelve participants, including firearms examiners, armourers and Integrated Ballistics Identification System (IBIS) technicians from the Trinidad and Tobago Forensic Science Centre and the Police Service to refresh their knowledge on specific UNLIREC standard operating procedures (SOPs), such as validation of scientific methods, test firing procedures, comparison microscopy and range of fire for bulleted cartridge firearms and shot guns.

The activities also included a series of practical exercises comparing cartridge cases and bullets using a comparison microscope, exploring the creation of a specific SOP on test fire samples, as well as determining range of fire with bulleted cartridge firearms and shot guns. The exercises provided participants with the opportunity to exchange best practices, improve inter-institutional coordination and discuss challenges faced in the field.

For the third round of project assistance to the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, UNLIREC will be implementing a series of collaborative exercises derived from forensic ballistic SOPs as a tool for determining staff competencies in key functional areas.

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.