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17 October 2017

Experts gather at INTERPOL symposium to address firearms threat to global security

DUBROVNIK, Croatia – With guns used to kill as many as 1,000 people per day worldwide, the INTERPOL Firearm Forensic Symposium (IFFS) will address the most pressing challenges facing police in global efforts to reduce and resolve firearm crimes.

The three-day (17 – 19 October) forum, organized jointly with Ultra Electronics Forensic Technology, brings together more than 300 law enforcement officers, ballistic experts and forensic scientists from 70 countries.

Through a series of panels, workshops and talks, the conference will focus on how advanced gun crime intelligence is becoming essential for effective law enforcement, with key topics including:

  • Best practices for extraction and interpretation of evidence;
  • Efficient use of lead generation, analysis and reporting techniques;
  • Firearm recovery protocols;
  • Links between organized crime and terrorism.

Opening the meeting, Croatia’s Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović said working together through information exchange and transnational cooperation was essential in combating all types of crime.

“Firearms illegally owned by citizens do not only fall under the domain of criminal justice, but also pose threats to general security. Croatia has invested great efforts in establishing a system for preventing and combating the illegal firearms trade, as well as national forensic capacities, and we are ready to share our experience with other countries,” said Minister Božinović.

The value of gathering and sharing firearms information was highlighted by INTERPOL’s Operation Trigger II earlier this year, which led to the launch of 80 related investigations.

Involving 23 countries, the operation resulted in 149 arrests and the seizure of some 320 firearms – including a rocket launcher and a machine gun – and almost 20,000 pieces of ammunition, along with grenades and explosives. Operation Africa Trigger III will be held later this year.

“In many parts of the world, law enforcement often considers the investigation completed when the firearm has been recovered, however this should be the starting point,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock.

“By coordinating the police and laboratory intelligence from every recovered crime gun, we turn each firearm into an asset for investigations in order to develop the necessary intelligence to target the true source of the problem, the trafficker.

“These are not easy investigations. Cooperation and coordination, often across international borders, are essential. A crime gun removed from the streets often represents a life saved. Arresting and prosecuting the traffickers can represent the saving of dozens of lives,” added the INTERPOL Chief, who had previously underlined the need for enhanced use of INTERPOL’s global firearms capabilities and services at a United Nations Security Council briefing in August.

Among these are INTERPOL’s Illicit Arms Records and Tracing Management System (iARMS) to search and trace lost, stolen and smuggled or trafficked firearms around the world and the INTERPOL Ballistic Information Network (IBIN), which currently connects 27 countries.

“It is with great pride that we join INTERPOL in welcoming our attendees to the fourth edition of IFFS,” said Timothy Heaney, Vice-President, Sales and Marketing, Ultra Electronics Forensic Technology.

“We hope this year’s programme, along with its roster of law enforcement experts, policy makers and leaders, will provide the insights, approaches and information needed to help solve and prevent gun crime in our communities and to make society safer,” added Mr Heaney.

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