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Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police Mc. Donald Jacob, left, along with Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith, look on as National Security Minister Stuart Young cuts the ribbon at the commissioning of the TTPS Ballistic Recovery Department, at Camp Cumuto, Wallerfield, yesterday. At, right, is Forensic Science Director Derrick Sankar.

The backlog of ballistic cases at the T&T Forensic Science Centre (TTFSC) in St James is expected to be cleared up in quick time now that 26 officers from the T&T Police Service have graduated from a Firearm and Toolkit Training programme.

The training was launched in June 2020 and despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the graduates continued with their training.

Speaking during the graduation ceremony that took place on Friday, Minister of National Security, Stuart Young told the graduates that the job that they are now called upon to perform “is going to be key and critical in the fight against the scourge of illegal guns out there and most importantly, providing the Director of Public Prosecutions and the court system with the necessary evidence.”

Yesterday also saw the official opening of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) Ballistic Recovery Department.

The new state of the art department, according to Young, will provide a more secure and scientific environment for the testing of firearms and will speed up the process of forensic testing, thereby reducing the workload on the TTFSC.

Young acknowledged those officers who underwent training and recognised the strides forward that the Police Service has taken to become more self-sufficient in the area of Forensic Analysts and Ballistic Testing.

“Today is about marrying the use of technology and science with practical work to bring more convictions in crimes involving the use of illegal firearm,” Young said.

“Ballistic evidence cannot be tampered with…. it reveals the facts which cannot be changed. So, this is a warning to all the criminals who are walking around with illegal firearms, that today the TTPS has made a significant step in not only the fight against crime, but also with assisting in clearing the backlog of ballistic testing,” he added.

Young also congratulated the 21 officers and five Forensic Analysts who completed the seven-month training programme in Firearm and Toolmark Examination.

The participants also undertook an online training course, “Introduction to Forensic Ballistics’ hosted by the United Nations Regional Center for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC). This training was a precursor to the opening of the Ballistic Recovery Department which ensured that the TTPS now has a fully operational facility, manned by skilled personnel with the ability to perform forensic analysis on illegal guns.

Young added, “I am looking forward to the results of your hard work and also to building that intelligence database where we could now link the scenes of crimes with the illegal firearms, as we continue the fight against criminals using science in the successful detection of serious crime.”

Also present at the ceremony were Commissioner of Police, Gary Griffith; Deputy Commissioner of Police (Ag.), McDonald Jacob; Director of Trinidad and Tobago Forensic Science Centre, Derrick Sankar and UNLIREC Senior Advisor, Jason Francis.