UNLIREC provides assistance on firearms forensic ballistics to Jamaica

From 28 September to 2 October 2015, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in collaboration with the government of Jamaica, delivered a three-day training course, a technical assessment of national capabilities and infrastructures, and a seminar for the institutional clients of firearms forensic ballistics in Kingston. These clients included heads of investigative and crime scene units, prosecutors, and magistrates, among others.

The training course on operational forensic ballistics enabled 18 participants, including firearms examiners, technicians and specialized Ministry of National Security personnel, to increase their knowledge on topics, such as firearms and ammunition identification and examination, comparison microscopy, and range of fire determination. The course included mapping and comparison microscopy exercises, double-casting demonstration and a simulation of the presentation of expert testimony of forensic ballistic evidence in a court of law. This was the opportunity for participants to exchange best practices and challenges faced in the field.

The national assessment, carried out in cooperation with the Firearms Licensing Authority and the Institute of Forensic Science and Legal Medicine, took into consideration the occupational health and safety of the firearms examiners (e.g. lead contamination), adequate protective equipment, firearms safety protocols, evidence management, as well as the continuing education plans for firearms and toolmark examiners and other laboratory personnel. The main recommendations of the assessment will be integrated into the two year capacity-building work plan for forensic ballistics.

The seminar raised the awareness of institutional clients of firearms forensic ballistics on the strengths and shortcomings of forensic ballistics in support of building court cases, as well as in generating intelligence to identify sources and routes used for illicit arms trafficking. In addition, UNLIREC staff provided a review of best practices in forensic ballistics analysis and investigative techniques.

This initiative forms part of the UNLIREC’s Caribbean operational forensic ballistics assistance package, made possible thanks to the support of the US Department of State.

UNLIREC, as the regional organ of the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, 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 UN 2001 Programme of Action on Small Arms.

For more information on UNLIREC visit (www.unlirec.org). Please direct all questions or inquiries to Amanda Cowl, Political Affairs Officer (cowl@unlirec.org).

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