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19 September 2017

Disaster Victim Identification focus of INTERPOL training in Thailand

BANGKOK, Thailand – INTERPOL has held back-to-back Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) training courses for officers from eight ASEAN countries, boosting their capacity to quickly and efficiently identify victims of mass casualty incidents.

Held under the aegis of Project Sunbird, a three-year capacity building endeavour funded by the Government of Canada and targeting the ASEAN region, the courses were attended by 56 officers and hosted by the Royal Thai Police in Bangkok.

Led by Detective Inspector Howard Way, Coordinator of the UK’s National DVI Unit, and facilitated by officers from INTERPOL’s Forensic Policing and Database Management and Capacity Building and Training Directorates, the courses provided concrete training and experience on INTERPOL standards for DVI, which include compliance with international standards and forensic quality assurance controls. These standards are essential in ensuring interoperability between agencies, which can significantly speed up the victim recovery and identification process.

Beyond identification, the attribution of potential investigative evidence is also a key aspect of DVI, particularly when establishing links between weapons such as explosive devices or vehicles, suspects, and the victims of attacks.

Participants undertook practical exercises in victim recovery, Post Mortem (PM) identification techniques as well as a mortuary exercise and training on the gathering of Ante Mortem (AM) information from both relatives and incident scenes. They also received training in reconciliation of PM and AM data to ensure accuracy and timeliness in identification of victims.

In line with Project Sunbird’s Leadership and Women in Policing objectives, nearly 40 per cent of officers trained were female. These objectives seek to promote the role of women in policing and to help build networks within ASEAN law enforcement agencies.

The Chargé d’Affaires of Canada in Thailand, Ayesha Rekhi said: “Canadians know that our futures are linked to Southeast Asia and for this reason, Canada is committed to engaging with ASEAN for the long term. INTERPOL continues to be an excellent partner for Canada and ASEAN in our security capacity building efforts.”

Underlining the strengths of Project Sunbird, Cyril Gout, INTERPOL’s Assistant Director of Forensic Policing and Database Management, thanked Canada for its commitment to developing policing capacity across the region. He added that over the next three years, courses such as these would ensure that frontline officers have the knowledge and skills necessary to assess, preserve and share evidence in line with best practices, thus enhancing their forensic capabilities.

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