Police worldwide can record illicit firearms in the iARMS database. With more than 1.5 million records, the iARMS database is crucial to help trace illicit firearms, as well as to identify firearms trafficking patterns and smuggling routes.
iARMS is divided into three components:
- Firearm Records Module
This module hosts a database that contains weapons reported as lost, stolen, trafficked or smuggled in another country.
With over 5,000 hits, or matches, iARMS has provided investigative leads on weapons diversion (where weapons and ammunition are taken from their originally intended recipients). The database has also enhanced the efficiency and effectiveness of investigations into firearms trafficking and firearms-related crimes.
- Trace Requests Module
Law enforcement agencies can quickly send trace requests to 195 member countries. Such trace requests can help identify the initial point of firearms diversion. They can also reveal essential information that helps identify potential firearm traffickers, detect firearm crime trends and link a suspect to a firearm in a criminal investigation.
Firearm tracing starts 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 agencies, customs and border control agencies internationally.
Since 2013, law enforcement officers have carried out over 1.4 million tracing operations through the database and have submitted more than 80,000 international trace requests. Such information has helped law enforcement agencies gather intelligence and disrupt the source of illicit arms (embezzlement, theft, reactivation of neutralised weapons etc.) iARMS has strengthened international cooperation and, helped identify numerous diversion points. Law enforcement agencies have also used iARMS to uncover criminal and terrorist networks responsible for the proliferation and misuse of firearms.
- Statistics and Reports Module
This module provides operational and strategic analytics to assist countries in strengthening their intelligence at a national and international level.
INTERPOL, with the financial support of the European Union (EU), launched in 2013 the INTERPOL illicit Arms Records and tracing Management System (iARMS).As the only global database of illicit firearms, iARMS is uniquely placed to support countries in promoting and implementing Sustainable Development Goal (SGD) 16.4 which links development to peace and security.
iARMS supports member countries in the implementation of:
- The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition;
- United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons;
- International Instrument to Enable States to Identify and Trace, in a Timely and Reliable Manner, Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons;
- Arms Trade Treaty
Access to iARMS 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.