Uganda Police Force [UPF] says it has started the long awaited gun fingerprinting exercise to curb crimes.
The exercise was kicked off on 18, September 2018 in the Kampala Metropolitan areas of Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono; it 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,” a KMP statement reads.
It goes on: “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.”
According to Police, the Integrated Ballistic Identification System was donated to Uganda in 2016 by the European Union.
After, 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.
How the integrated ballistic identification system (IBIS) works.
It captures individual characteristics of each bullet, by analyzing the firing pin impression whenever one fires a weapon. The system also 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 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 in case of any crime committed,” security experts say.
With IBIS, it 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 commission of crimes and to connect specific suspects to the actual scene of crimes.
The firearm fingerprinting exercise comes as a fulfillment of a nine-point security master plan to contain gun related crime by President of the Republic of Uganda HE. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
This was after numerous killings of high profile Ugandans by some assassins – some of whom have been arrested, and majority still at large.
After these crimes were committed, key leads have been a massive challenge to police detectives.
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.