Ministry of National Security strengthens capacity in Forensic Ballistics Evidence Analysis
Port of Spain: Two arms of the Ministry of National Security, the National Forensic Science Centre (NFSC) and the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS), collaborated to launch a training initiative entitled Firearm and Toolmark Examiner Training Programme at the Police Training Academy in St. James on Monday June 01, 2020. The historic training programme is aimed at increasing the cadre of firearm and toolmark examiners locally to speed up processing of evidence relating to firearms used in criminal activities, particularly ballistic material comparisons.
Twenty-five (25) officials comprising mainly members of the TTPS and officers from the NFSC will undergo the three-month programme. This training initiative is the first of its kind in Trinidad and Tobago and entails theoretical, progressive and practical course modules including evidence handling and examination, evidence evaluation, toolmark identification, firearm manufacture trends, ballistic projectile dynamics and report writing.
Speaking at the Opening Ceremony, Minister of National Security the Honourable Stuart R. Young M.P. welcomed the programme, describing it as “an innovative initiative demonstrable of the Ministry of National Security’s thrust of intelligence-driven operations and the use of technology in the fight against crime”. He noted that the programme will support the TTPS in solving criminal cases and enable the quicker processing of evidence related to firearm offences. The Minister reminded course participants of their responsibility for improving this country’s crime detection rate, stating that the data they generate in keeping with this training programme will strengthen the criminal prosecution process. Minister Young thanked the Acting Director of the NFSC Mr. Derrick Sankar for conceptualizing the initiative and also extended gratitude to the TTPS for working collaboratively with the NFSC to bring the programme to fruition.
Also delivering remarks at the event were Commissioner of Police Mr. Gary Griffith, Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police Mr. McDonald Jacob, Provost of the Police Training Academy Dr. Simon Alexis and Acting Director of the NFSC Mr. Derrick Sankar. Like Minister Young, all speakers welcomed the introduction of the programme and the anticipated bolstering of the criminal justice system.
The programme will be directed by Mr. Sankar who is a trained forensic ballistic professional. He will be supported by other professional staff at the NFSC and from the TTPS. The course runs from June 01, 2020 to August 31, 2020 and will be conducted at the Police Training Academy in St. James and the NFSC in St. Clair.