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David Goodwin with Forensic Tools

Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 11, 2018 (SKNIS): Members of the Forensic Department in the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force (RSCNPF) are participating in a training course on specialized fingerprint testing as efforts continue to upgrade the capacity of the staff.

Three weeks ago, David Goodwin, a fingerprint expert out of the United Kingdom, engaged a mixed ability class of novices, experienced officers and civilian staff, and ran through the basics of fingerprinting. This was followed by the advanced training for the forensic staff who is reviewing specialized fingerprint topography, use of chemicals and tools such as forensic lights and how to preserve evidence, while staying safe in the lab. The Forensic Laboratory Officer course began on April 09 and runs up to April 20.

The experienced crime scene investigators were commended for their knowledge and capabilities and the earlier sessions served as confirmation that they are using techniques and practices in keeping with international standards. The information shared during the advanced course has also been well received.

“They learnt very well. They came to learn new skills which is fantastic and it is always nice when you are training to have an interaction with people who are keen to learn,” Mr. Goodwin said.

Head of the Forensic Department, Narace Ramnarine, noted that capacity development has been a priority under his tenure which began in January 2017. He disclosed that there have been a number of training courses for the 16 members of the Forensic Department as well as for other members of the RSCNPF. These include Crime Scene Investigation Certification and Refresher, Forensic Awareness and Crime Scene Management for First Responders, Foundation Fingerprint, and more. Training was also held for emergency management technicians (EMT), nurses, and doctors to sensitize them on the need to preserve evidence and to maintain the integrity of a crime scene when they are called in to treat victims of crime. The use of a Practice Quiz, as well as other revision materials for areas such as Emergency Medical Technicians and other related fields, can also be taken depending on what level they are at and where they are in their training, so they can consistently build on their knowledge.

Mr. Ramnarine said that over the past three months there has been an increase in evidential exhibits presented during court cases. When presenting court cases, there needs to be no room for error on the forensic and medical sides to help make the case stick. As the evidence comes more into effect, this is when a surgical expert witness and other experts are brought in to cement the case further with their testimony.

“Now the court will be seeing exhibits coming in a different form or fashion,” he stressed, referring to the benefits of the advanced training. “In time gone by, it was important to present the evidence as let’s say a machete before the court, but the evidence that we are focused on [now] is not just the machete but what is on the machete. So you will find that it’s not just one single item going before the court. There will be several other items that will be extricated from the machete and presented as evidence before the court but it will be presented in such a way that it is … in keeping with international standards.”

The Forensic Department will be based at the new facility being constructed in Tabernacle.

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