Police worldwide can record illicit firearms in the iARMS database and can search seized to check if they have been reported as lost, stolen, trafficked or smuggled.
With over a million records, iARMS can help identify firearms trafficking patterns and smuggling routes.
Firearm tracing can:
- Link a suspect to a firearm in a criminal investigation;
- Identify potential firearm traffickers;
- Detect firearm crime trends;
- Support targeted intelligence-led police operations aimed at curbing the firearms supply to terrorist networks and violent individuals.
How are firearms traced?
Firearm tracing is the systematic tracking of a firearm that has been found or seized, from the point of manufacture or the point of legal importation into a country, through the lines of supply to the last known point of possession. Firearm tracing involves close cooperation among law enforcement, customs and border control agencies internationally.
The iARMS database is crucial to help trace illicit seized firearms. A trace request can be quickly sent to the country of manufacture or last legal import or any other country on the investigative trail.
Firearms of interest
Obviously not all firearms are illicit. IARM’s definition is based on a number of legal considerations:
- compliance with the law of the country in whose territorial jurisdiction it is found,
- violation of a UN Security Council arms embargo;
- non-compliance with the International Tracing Instrument;
- manufacture or transfer without the relevant licence.
Modules and user access
iARMS is divided into three components:
- The Firearm Records Module facilitates international communication on lost, stolen, trafficked and smuggled firearms.
- The Trace Requests Module enables users to create, manage and respond to international firearm trace requests on crime-related firearms.
- The Statistics and Reports Module supports INTERPOL member countries to analyse national data information on firearm-related crime and tracing, and to generate tailored reports.
Access may be granted to police services, customs agencies, border protection agencies and regulatory authorities. Users outside a National Central Bureau need prior formal approval from the NCB.
For more information or questions, please contact the INTERPOL Firearms Programme.