Taking aim at regional gun crime intelligence sharing

This week’s 2015 Interpol Firearm Forensics Symposium (IFFS 2015) is shaping up to be an excellent springboard for the global law enforcement community to expand the sharing of actionable information to address cross-border gun-related violence.

Oct 7, 2015
By Paul Jacques

This week’s 2015 Interpol Firearm Forensics Symposium (IFFS 2015) is shaping up to be an excellent springboard for the global law enforcement community to expand the sharing of actionable information to address cross-border gun-related violence.

The three-day international conference that started yesterday (October 7) is examining how crime gun intelligence can be leveraged to ‘Preserve Peace through Justice’, the theme of IFFS 2015.

IFFS is being hosted at the Interpol Global Complex for Innovation (IGCI) in Singapore in partnership with the forensic ballistics and firearms identification specialist Forensic Technology (part of Ultra Electronics).

It will review national and international trends in firearm violence, explore advances in firearm forensics analysis and investigations, and recommend international best practices to combat the threat of firearm crimes.

“Unlike the ‘old days’, when the results of forensic analysis was relied upon mostly as evidence to support guilt or innocence in court, in today’s world, forensic tools and data-sharing systems can also generate pro-active actionable intelligence that detectives need to advance their investigations and identify and apprehend the guilty parties,” said Pete Gagliardi, senior vice-president at Forensic Technology, in a recent blog.

“Ronald Noble, the former Interpol Secretary General, once said that ‘when the criminals operate in multiple countries throughout the world, we must cast as wide a net as possible to catch those valuable pieces of information that will allow us to identify and apprehend those responsible. This is our best defence against transnational illicit networks, whether they are involved in armed robbery, drug trafficking, terrorism, human smuggling or any other crime’.”

Mr Gagliardi said the sharing of information about the criminal use of firearms across national borders was highlighted last year by the UN during the Fifth Biennial Meeting of States to consider the implementation of the ‘programme of action to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons’.

“The outcome document highlights the availability of tools to support the effectiveness, efficiency and speed of information-sharing related to the tracing of illicit small arms and light weapons in criminal investigations, including online platforms, such as tools for information exchange provided by Interpol,” said Mr Gagliardi.

One of the Interpol tools is the Ballistic Information Network (IBIN), similar to the UK’s National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS). IBIN is the only large-scale international ballistic data-sharing network in the world and it is available to all 190 Interpol member countries.

“Through IBIN, the opportunity to find that critical investigative lead now exists, even if it is thousands of kilometres away,” explained Mr Gagliardi.

“For example, the Philippine National Police (PNP) used IBIS as part of a four-year investigation involving a series of 33 extremely violent and senseless criminal acts that would leave 38 people dead and almost as many wounded across ten cities and seven provinces in the Philippines. The ‘3K Killings’ investigation was primarily advanced through the use of IBIS technology, leading the PNP literally to a suspect’s front door.”

• Visit www.iffs2015.com or www.ultra-forensictechnology.com

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