X-Ray Scanner Operators in Costa Rica Trained to Identify Firearms, their Parts, Components and Ammunition

From 3-7 June 2019, UNLIREC held the Course on the Interdiction of Arms, Ammunition, Parts and Components (ISAAP) in San Jose, Costa Rica as part of the assistance offered to Latin American and Caribbean States. The objective of this specialized course is to aid in strengthening the capacity of States in their efforts to prevent and combat illicit firearm trafficking through the specialized training of X-ray machine operators, working in surveillance and inspection at points of entry, exit as well as land, air and sea border crossing.

In recent decades, the postal system as well as parcel and luggage shipments via airports have been identified as some of the methods used by criminal networks to traffic firearms and ammunition through countries in the region.

Within this context, around 40 X-ray operators were trained during the course. They came from different public institutions such as the Air Vigilance Service, Drug Control Police, Border Police, Penitentiary Police, Customs and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, along with personnel from private security companies providing surveillance services at airports.

Using a theory-practice methodology, the participants received training on fundamental aspects related to the interpretation of X-ray images, technical specifications of small arms, their parts, components, ammunition and explosives; while paying special attention to the different factors which influence their visualization through X-ray technology. This course included training sessions using an online platform developed by the Center for Adaptive Security Research and Applications (CASRA), as well as a series of practical exercises on concealment methods.

This is the second edition of the ISAAP course that has been held in Costa Rica. This edition was organized in conjunction with the Ministry of Public Security and the National Postal Service, with financial support from the Federal Republic of Germany.

UNLIREC has designed this course to help Latin American and Caribbean States in their efforts to combat the illicit trafficking of arms in accordance with the international instruments on the subject. The objective is to reduce the undesirable effects of small arms proliferation and armed violence affecting the region.

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