On 25 and 26 January 2022, UNODC’s Global Firearms Programme, in close cooperation with CARICOM IMPACS and thanks to German financing, organised a virtual regional meeting about the establishment of Integrated Firearms Centres in the Caribbean region, a strategic initiative proposed by UNODC to support the implementation of the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap.
The two-days regional meeting gathered more than 70 criminal justice practitioners from around the Caribbean region, who shared national experiences and exchanged thoughts about these centres. The idea behind the Integrated Firearms Centres is to centralise information at national level, analyse and distribute it, and act internationally as a focal point for the purpose of information exchange and international cooperation with different law enforcement agencies in the respective countries. Hence, such centres would be in charge of firearms control matters, including forensics, firearms registries, investigating and tracing of firearms relevant to the issue of illicit trafficking in firearms, their parts and components and ammunition and other related crimes.
The meeting also included presentations of experts from Canadian National Firearms Tracing Centre, Spanish Gendarmerie, and United Kingdom’s National Ballistics Intelligence Service, which are leading examples of those integrated firearms centres. These guest speakers provided detailed explanations about the experiences in their respective countries, in order to share good practices and lessons learned.
The meeting also offered the space to identify needs and opportunities and discuss the possible steps to establish those centres. Finally, the last session of the meeting included a presentation by UNLIREC dedicated to frame these centres within the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap, as an initiative that would contribute to Goal 3, to bolster law enforcement capacities to combat illicit firearms and ammunition trafficking and their illicit possession and misuse.The virtual regional meeting on integrated firearms centres was an activity in the framework of the project “Support to the implementation of the crime prevention and criminal justice component of the Caribbean Roadmap to counter illicit firearms trafficking and misuse across the Caribbean in a sustainable manner by 2030”, financed by Germany and implemented by UNODC’s Global Firearms Programme.