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Police rolls out exercise to fingerprint guns

Aswa Regional Police Spokesperson, Patrick Jimmy Okema displays guns recovered at a crime scene. Gun-related crimes are on the rise as govt moves carryout a firearm fingerprinting exercise(FILE PHOTO)

KAMPALA – Police has commenced on a firearm fingerprinting exercise in a bid to solve gun-related` crimes.

The exercise that began on 18th September 2018 in Kampala Metropolitan Areas of Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono is to be rolled out across the country. These strict firearm regulations will help monitor the exit and ingress of guns within the country hence assisting policing operations so that we can regulate and resolve firearm crimes at local and regional level.

This activity comes as a result of the transformation of the security forces and forensic department. Firearms are to be subjected to the Integrated Ballistic Identification System (IBIS) and with this new development Uganda joins the rest of the countries like United Kingdom, Algeria, Mexico, Spain, Philippines, UK, USA, France, Trinidad and Tobago, Guatemala, Kenya, South Africa, Botswana, Canada among others.

The Integrated Ballistic Identification System was donated to Uganda in 2016 by the European Union and 112 security personnel were flown abroad, enrolled and passed out in the system usage exercise. The IBIS is an automated ballistics imaging and analysis system that populates a computerized database of digital ballistic images of bullets and casings from crime guns.

It captures individual characteristics of each bullet, by analyzing the firing pin impression whenever one fires a weapon. The system assists forensic experts in making identifications for investigations and trials. Every firearm leaves unique identifying characteristics on the bullet and the cartridge during the firing process. The barrel of every firearm leaves lands, grooves, and specific marks.

In most gun-related crime scenes in Uganda, very many cartridges are always recovered but the traditional methods have always made it hard to find the actual match of the weapon used. However, with the introduction to IBIS, firearm forensic experts shall be able to examine each potential match and make the final determination of whether a match actually exists. The system enables all member countries running the same system to search for any weapon detail incase of any crime committed.

This will enable forensic experts to provide detectives with valuable and timely information about crimes, guns, and suspects, map out and connect crime patterns of weapons used in the commission of crimes and to connect specific suspects to the actual scene of crimes.

The firearm fingerprinting exercise comes as a fulfilment of a nine-point security master plan to contain gun-related crime by President of the Republic of Uganda HE. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

The exercise shall be carried out in all government security agencies i.e. Uganda People’s Defense Forces, Uganda Police Force, Uganda Prisons Services, Uganda Wildlife Authority, private security organizations and licensed firearm holders.

Field proven and time-tested since 1991, IBIS has generated over 50,000 hits worldwide which, in turn, have linked over 100,000 gun-related crimes. These links have provided police with crime solving leads that would not have been attainable through other means.

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