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16 June 2017

INTERPOL assisting wildlife investigators use firearms tracing to identify poachers

LYON, France - Using INTERPOL’s firearms investigation capabilities to track and identify criminals behind poaching and related crimes was the focus of training for specialist officers from across Africa.

The Firearms Programme Policing Capabilities for Investigating Environmental Crime workshop focused on the challenges posed by illegal firearms trafficking in relation to wildlife crime in national parks, reserves and other wildlife sanctuaries.

With one of the nine participating countries having seized more than 3,000 firearms between 2012 and 2016, including many linked to poaching, the working group addressed the importance of tracing illicit firearms and using ballistic evidence in wildlife crime investigations.

Participants were trained in using the INTERPOL Illicit Arms Records and tracing Management System (iARMS), which assists information exchange and cooperation between law enforcement to:

  • 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.

The training included practical exercises on firearms tracing as an investigative lead generator using iARMS and promoting evidence sharing using the INTERPOL Ballistic Information Network (IBIN), which is the only large-scale international ballistic data sharing network in the world.

Other modules also covered a range of INTERPOL capabilities including the ‘Firearms Recovery Protocol’, ‘Indicators of Firearms Trafficking’ and ‘Interviews following Firearms Recovery’.

Participants from the following countries took part in the four-day (6 – 9 June) workshop supported by the United States Agency for International Development and the European Union: Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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