Training Session on Basic Explosives Orientation under Advanced Terrorism Investigation Course

23 - 31 January 2020, Peshawar. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Country Office Pakistan, under the PACT project, organized an Advanced Terrorism Investigation Course at the Police School of Investigation, Peshawar on 6 - 31 January 2020. As part of this course, a week-long training session on 'Basic Explosives Orientation' was delivered from 23 to 31 January, for thirty-one officials from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Police.

This training activity was funded by the European Union (EU) through PACT. The session was designed with the objective of imparting theoretical and practical knowledge on how to handle/manoeuvre with explosive devices, and how to preserve/manage a crime scene after occurrence of an explosion. The training session focussed primarily on providing the participants with hands-on experience of dealing with explosive devices and equipment during investigation of crime scenes. It was delivered by experts and trainers from within the police force who discussed the following key areas: characteristics and properties of explosive devices and their classification; mechanics of homemade explosive devices; types of improvised-explosive-devices (IEDs); and preservation of a crime scene and explosives found at the crime scene.  

On the first two days, presentations were given on the fundamentals of explosive devices. Participants were introduced to definitions, components, and accessories of explosives. Trainers also discussed the strengths of commercial explosives in terms of velocity, fume quality, and pressure release; and elaborated on features of home-made explosives. In addition, they identified methods and tools for detecting home-made explosives at airports during security checks.

On third day of the training session, participants were taken to the Police School of Explosives Handling in Nowshera. At this specialized school, a practical demonstration of a bomb blast in real-time was organized. Post blast, participants were briefed on the standard-operating-procedures (SOPs) of investigating a blast scene. Guidelines on collection, preservation, and management of residue and evidence found at the crime scene were also outlined.

During the remaining days of the training session, trainers highlighted the significance of the crime scene, basic principles and search strategies for processing the crime scene, and various types of IEDs: with special focus on radio-controlled IEDs. They highlighted the concept of initiating explosive devices, and the sensitivity of these systems, with special emphasis on the investigation of suicide cases. Each day concluded with a group activity where participants actively engaged in discussions, and expressed their satisfaction with the knowledge they gained.

On the final day participants were successfully evaluated for the skills acquired via a post-training knowledge test. The trainers then conducted a course review to reinforce concepts taught during the training session; followed by a closing ceremony and a group photo. The training concluded on a positive note, with the participants expressing their appreciation and extending their thanks to UNODC and the EU for their support.