Measures taken for undertaking traces and responding to tracing requests:
In 2007, a scoping study was commissioned by the Ministry of National Security in order to assess the extent to which the Trinidad and Tobago Police was successful in tracing retrieving firearms and to what extent these tracing results were promoting the law enforcement effort. The rationale for this project was that efforts on the part of the government to reduce the prevalence of the illegal circulation and use of firearms would be more effective if they were based on an accurate understanding of the problem. The study recommended the creation of a standardised tracing procedure, the establishment of an appropriately staffed and equipped national fusion centre and the development of a partnership with the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) for the purpose of gaining e Trace capabilities: a paperless firearm trace submission system and trace analysis computer module readily accessible via the internet. This application would provide the necessray facilities for submitting, retrieving, storing and querying information related to firearms relative to particular jurisdictions, allowing for the systematic tracing of firearms from crime scenes.
Operational Informaton Exchange:
Strengthening the aforementioned mechanism is the use by local law enforcement agencies of the international E-Tracing instrument, an instrument which was formally implemented and incorporated in 2009. Through an inter-governmental Memorandum of Understanding ratified in 2009 by the Governments of the United States of America and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, an agreement was reached between the TIPS and the United States Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Agency (ATF, Department of Justice) to facilitate the use of the latter's E-Tracing instrument. This agreement includes access with US gun tracing databases and training of various stakeholders of the National Security Community in this field of activity. This instrument would allow local authorities to determine the possible origins of firearms used in local criminal activities and possibly assist investigators in determining how illegal guns are entering the borders of Trinidad and Tobagoo It is hoped that local and bilateral efforts would help to more effectively track and seize firearms through the use of technologies that would synergize the efforts of the law enforcement, intelligence and scientific communities.
Trinidad and Tobago cooperates within the framework of CARICOM and has also strengthened bilateral relations with several members of the Latin American Caribbean Group (GRULAC), through cooperation agreements which facilitate permanent institutional communications channels between competent authorities, periodic exchanges of investigative or intelligence information, joint task forces and the sharing, maintenance and updating of common databases.
At an institutional level relevant regional authorities are in the process of developing a CARICOM Regional Integrated Ballistic Information Network (RIBIN).
Needs and Request for Assistance::
Implementation challenges and opportunities: