Phillip Boyce, Forensic Scientist, Firearm, GSR and Tool Mark Expert (left) and Ciaran Phillip, Forensics Laboratory Manager.
Phillip Boyce, Forensic Scientist, Firearm, GSR and Tool Mark Expert (left) and Ciaran Phillip, Forensics Laboratory Manager.

Two persons from the Forensics Department underwent an extensive Open Case File Development Training Course to learn how to more effectively link firearms to crime scenes.  The training was made possible by the United Nations Office for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC).

Damien Challenger,  Ballistics Examiner, and Ciaran Phillip, Forensics Laboratory Manager, were the participants in the course which ran from April 01 – 11, 2019 and was held at the Forensics Lab in Tabernacle and the Police Force Armoury.

Phillip said that the major aim of the training was to lay the foundation for the creation of a digital and physical database of open firearms cases. Such a database will make it easier to link firearms recovered to crimes committed.

“By doing this, we will be able to quickly compare scenes where a firearm was recovered to see if the same gun was used in multiple incidents. This will generate investigative leads to help detectives make connections and quick eliminations to narrow down the scale of their work,” Phillip said.

He described the course as interactive and hands-on. The training was done in three phases – documentation and test firing the firearms in the armoury, introduction to comparison microscopy, and microscopy training and documentation for open case file development.

The facilitators for the course were Jason B. Francis, Senior Policy Advisor, UNLIREC and Phillip Boyce, Forensic Scientist, Firearm, GSR and Tool Mark Expert.

Latoya Lake-Marshall, Director of the Forensics Department, said that UNLIREC has been providing Caribbean Member States with technical assistance to improve their capabilities for firearm control, including law enforcement training, to combat illicit trafficking, legal reforms, stockpile management, as well as the destruction of obsolete and confiscated weapons and ammunition.

“The aforementioned initiative in and of itself serves as an added plus to the ballistics examinations where it allows for increased linkages in gun-related matters, traces and the implementation of an open case file method to aid with unsolved ballistic matters,” she stated.

She said that the training was well received by the department and that the facilitators will continue to work closely with them to provide further training and technical assistance.

“The overall two-week session was welcomed by the department. Valuable ground was covered and both Officers welcomed the advanced technological methods and skills imparted to them. The facilitators will continue to offer as much assistance to the Forensics Department due to the evident commitment displayed by both Technicians, the Crime Directorate and the Forensics Director in enhancing skills and methods to effectively battle gun crimes,” Director Lake-Marshall said.