Goodwin discusses forensic techniques with trainees.
Goodwin discusses forensic techniques with trainees.

Advanced training for forensic staff continues


BASSETERRE – Members of the Forensic Department in the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force (RSCNPF) are participating in a training course on specialized fingerprint testing as efforts continue to upgrade the capacity of the staff.

Three weeks ago, David Goodwin, a fingerprint expert out of the United Kingdom, engaged a mixed-ability class of novices, experienced officers and civilian staff through the basics of fingerprinting. This was followed by the advanced training for the forensic staff in reviewing specialized fingerprint topography, use of chemicals and tools such as forensic lights, and how to preserve evidence while staying safe in the lab. The Forensic Laboratory Officer course runs April 9-20.

The experienced crime scene investigators were commended for their knowledge and capabilities and the earlier sessions served as confirmation that they are using techniques and practices in keeping with international standards. The information shared during the advanced course has also been well received.

“They learnt very well,” Goodwin said. “They came to learn new skills, which is fantastic, and it is always nice when you are training to have an interaction with people who are keen to learn.”

The head of the Forensic Department, Narace Ramnarine, noted that capacity development has been a priority under his tenure, which began in January 2017. He disclosed that there have been a number of training courses for the 16 members of the Forensic Department as well as for other members of the RSCNPF. These include Crime Scene Investigation Certification and Refresher, Forensic Awareness and Crime Scene Management for First Responders, Foundation Fingerprint, and more. Training was also held for emergency management technicians (EMT), nurses and doctors to sensitize them on the need to preserve evidence and to maintain the integrity of a crime scene when they are called in to treat victims of crime.

Ramnarine said that during the past three months, there has been an increase in evidential exhibits presented during court cases.

“Now the court will be seeing exhibits coming in a different form or fashion,” he stressed, referring to the benefits of the advanced training. “In times gone by, it was important to present the evidence as, let’s say, a machete before the court, but the evidence that we are focused on [now] is not just the machete, but what is on the machete. So you will find that it’s not just one single item going before the court. There will be several other items that will be extricated from the machete and presented as evidence before the court, but it will be presented in such a way that it is … in keeping with international standards.”

The Forensic Department will be based at the new facility being constructed in Tabernacle.