JIS News

The Integrated Ballistic Identification System (IBS) which will be used by the ballistics section of the Forensics Services Division of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is expected to be in the Island by February 2006.
Cabinet’s approval for the contract was approved in September 2005 for signing in October 2005. IBIS, which costs just over US$1.9 million, was procured with the assistance of the Canadian Government.
The equipment will enable the JCF to among other things, fingerprint firearms in Jamaica and develop an appropriate database; build a database of bullets and spent shells recovered from crime or shooting scenes; link bullets and spent shells recovered from crime or shooting scenes with other gun crimes and shooting scenes; and link recovered illegal firearms with particular gun crimes.
Information Minister Senator Burchell Whiteman who made the disclosure while responding to questions posed by Opposition Senator Arthur Williams at last Friday’s (Nov. 25) sitting of the Senate, said further it was believed that the equipment would be delivered ahead of the February date.
The Information Minister said it was also intended that the New Firearms Authority would have access to the system, which would be based within the forensic police force department. This, he said, was as a result that based on the expectations that the Authority would have the capacity “to check, double check and cross check,” evidence.
Elaborating on the situation leading to the procuring of the new equipment, Minister Whiteman noted that the Drugfire ballistics testing system previously employed by the JCF had become defective. When manufacturers support ended the Jamaican police was left without ballistic testing capabilities, he said.
In responding to queries as to the type of assistance received during the time the country’s ballistic system was out of service, Minister Whiteman said he had been advised that assistance for cases of high priority was obtained from the USA during the period.
Continuing, the Information Minister said up to 1997 there were two ballistic technologies in use in the United States by law enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) using Drugfire and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) through IBIS, the Integrated Ballistic Identification System. On May 28, 1997, the FBI and ATF agreed to evaluate how both Drugfire and IBIS could function together under a joint programme called the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN).
In December 1999 after completing the evaluation, the ATF and FBI agreed to replace all Drugfire systems in the United States with IBIS. The replacement of all Drugfire systems was completed in 2001.
“Today there are no Drugfire systems operated in the US National Integrated Ballistic Information Network,” he informed.
Senator Whiteman noted that the IBIS was the only commercially deployed ballistics testing system available in the world and is currently being used in 33 countries around the world including the major law enforcement agencies in Jamaica’s principal international partner countries. Within CARICOM, IBIS is used in Trinidad and Tobago by the Ministry of National Security, Forensic Science Centre.