Training on Trace Evidence and its Evidentiary Value under Terrorism Investigation Course

09 - 17 January 2020, Hangu. The PACT (Pakistan's Action to Counter Terrorism) project, under the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Country Office Pakistan (UNODC), aims to strengthen the capacity building of the country's law enforcement agencies (LEAs) in general, and of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) police forces in particular. This initiative under PACT aims at enhancing the operational efficacy of these LEAs in the field of terrorism investigation, with special emphasis on improving processes that deal with investigation, prosecution, and adjudication of terrorism-related cases. In compliance with this mandate and with the first outcome of PACT, UNODC conducted the 4th week of training on the Terrorism Investigation Course, on the module of Trace Evidence and its Evidentiary Value. This session took place from 9 to 17 January 2020. The project has been made possible with the financial and technical support of the European Union (EU).

The objective of this training session was to enhance the KP Police's capacity in evidence collection and in the mechanisms of cooperation and coordination necessary during terrorism investigation cases. Altogether 32 officials from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police participated in this training session and benefitted therefrom.

The session commenced with reflections on learning from the previous trainings. The trainers gave comprehensive power point presentations on the 'Evidentiary Value of IT-Based Evidence', and defined several other terminologies relevant to 'Trace Evidence'. Special emphasis was placed on clarifying the responsibilities of Operational and Investigating Officers. The presentations were followed by group exercises on the subject and quiz tests on the previous sessions. On the first two days, trainers presented on several key areas including: Significance of Evidence; Fundamental Concepts of Joint Investigation Teams (JITs) and their Advantages; different Types of Evidence viz. Confessions, Electronic Evidence, and Digital Evidence; and Legal Frameworks of Evidence guiding Investigation under Pakistani Law. Participants were introduced to processes explaining how police officials best utilize Geo-tagging for the purpose of crime mapping in apprehending culprits. With reference to JITs, discussions were held explaining how these are legally constituted, and the procedures followed by JITs in counter-terrorism cases.

On the next two days, an expert lecturer delivered a special presentation on Mock Crime Scene Investigations. The expert highlighted the Types of Crime Scenes and the four Essential Components of Crime Scene Management. Subsequently participants engaged in practical demonstrations of investigating a crime scene.

The following training days featured presentations on the primary theme of the training session. Trainers elaborated upon the Evidentiary Value of Trace Evidence, and on Analysis of Trace Evidence. Several case studies were utilized to deliberate upon Techniques of Collecting and Preserving Trace Evidence, and the Precautionary Measures to be taken during this process.

Participants successfully attained knowledge in the key areas discussed. Throughout the training, they took active part in the discussions and clarified their doubts and questions. Their assimilation level was continuously monitored through quizzes, self-assessment questions, and syndicate group exercises.

The session concluded with a post-training knowledge test, evaluation, and a course review for obtaining feedback from those attending. The participants appreciated the training and its methodology during the closing ceremony, which was followed by a group photo.