Five State Police Officers coming from the Ballistic Sector of Albanian Institute of Scientific Police received training on how to use Comparison Microscope for Ballistic examination& Trinocular microscopes

UNDP Albania

Support Albania’s Law Enforcement Authorities to Strengthen Firearms Criminality Evidence Management and Investigation Capacities

Summary

The Project Support Albania’s Law Enforcement Authorities to Strengthen Firearms Criminality Evidence Management and Investigation Capacities aims to enhance efficiency in criminal proceedings and judicial processes through capacitating the Albanian Institute of Scientific Police and CSI staff to operate with higher standards and effective procedures through improved evidence-based analysis, state of the art equipment and more effective exchange of intelligence data with regional and EU Partners.

The Project addresses criminal investigation, touching upon three main dimensions of the equation:

  1. the procedures in place,
  2. the capacities of the Crime Scene Investigation units,
  3. the technological upgrade of the Albanian Ballistic Sector.

The assistance aims to revise and harmonize the procedures in place with best international practices and relevant EU standards and guidelines, enhance the capacities of Crime Scene Investigation units in the field of crime scene investigations through increasing their technical as well as knowledge capacity, and the upgrade of essential tools and instruments necessary for appropriate ballistic examination.

Five State Police Officers coming from the Ballistic Sector of Albanian Institute of Scientific Police received training on how to use Comparison Microscope for Ballistic examination & Trinocular microscopes

Background

The Western Balkan countries have agreed to abide by and implement a joint Roadmap for a sustainable solution to the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of SALW and their ammunition, to address challenges related to the arms proliferation and the different and deficient control frameworks in the Western Balkans.

The roadmap envisages a comprehensive approach to SALW control from updating and harmonization of the legal frameworks, improved regional cooperation and information exchange, enhanced interoperability of intelligence-led investigations, due public awareness on the dangers of weapons, gender mainstreaming in SALW control to strengthened physical security and safety of weapons storages.

Albania is fully committed to following the Roadmap as part of its strategic priorities on the fight against crime and consolidation of the rule of law, which is also part of the immediate five key priorities to be fulfilled by Albania in its EU accession process.

Over the years, the Parliament of Albania has approved several laws on SALW management and control, increasingly upgraded to comply with global practices and EU directives. Albania has also joined the main international agreements on firearms control, including: The Arms Trade Treaty, the United Nations Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons, the Firearms Protocol, and is actively engaged in regional initiatives to strengthen SALW control in the territory of the Republic of Albania and in the entire region.

In 2016, Albania also disposed of the surplus of weapons and ammunitions inherited from the past militarization policies. Measures to reduce corruption and organized crime were at the heart of the judicial reforms that were approved in 2016 as well as the establishment of the National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons in June 2017, the latter responsible for the development and monitoring of the implementation of a National Strategy and Action Plan on SALW.

On 6 February 2019, Albania approved its new National Strategy on Small Arms, Light Weapons and Explosives Control 2019-2024 and the related Action Plan 2019-2021. In term of compliance, the Strategy explicitly notes its close reference to the “Roadmap for a sustainable solution to the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and their ammunition in the Western Balkans, by 2024” and fully mirrors the roadmap and its performance indicators within the national objectives and the progress monitoring framework.  The Strategy and accompanying Action Plan recognize the gendered aspects of SALW control and contain specific measures to improve institutional and policy response to the misuse of firearms in domestic and intimate partner violence. The Strategy also foresees activities aimed at increasing the participation of women in SALW control and improving the capacities of competent institutions to mainstream gender in SALW control policies. 

As a matter of fact, from a gender perspective, the Albanian State Police has set a quota of 50% (women) in its recruitment policy and has launched a women-only recruitment campaign to increase larger participation of women and girls in police forces. This area needs to be consolidated and further strengthened in order to create a diversified and non-discriminatory police culture that encourages women and girls to participate in both law enforcement operations and decision-making processes meaningfully. While this is commendable, there is still much to achieve in practice. It is important to both concretely promote gender diversification in police forces and empower all the personnel equally to grow professionally and managerially within the structure.

In terms of objectives, the Strategy is very ambitious and challenging as Albania commits to make a considerable leap forward compared to the present state of affairs in the areas of legal framework development, review and harmonization with EU and international standards, in strengthening regional cooperation and the adoption of systems of higher regional interoperability, enhanced capacities of its public order, security and law enforcement staff and a serious upgrade and modernization of its physical and technological assets.

Entirely in line with the above national strategic framework, this Project addresses some of the immediate needs expressed by the Albanian counterparts related to enhancing the capacities of the Albanian State Police with regard to criminal investigations. Strengthening such capacities would, in turn, increase the rate of success in identifying perpetrators and improve the performance of the entire chain of law enforcement agencies. While the proposed solutions satisfy some immediate needs, their impact is deemed critical and essential for further mid to long-term improvements.

Major achievements

To date the Project has achieved the following:

  • Standard Operating Procedures for OCF for ballistic examination, chain of custody of evidence, crime scene investigation, and tagging and packaging of evidence have been developed and existing Standard Operating Procedures for ballistic examination, biological examination and DNA and evidence administration have been amended
  • 80 staff of CSI units from across Albania and AISP ballistics personnel are trained on the use of the new Standard Operating Procedures and are better prepared for their accreditation under ISO 17020.
  • CSI units are equipped with
    • 16 sets of IT equipment
    • 16 Basic CSI Kits,
    • 23 Specialized CSI Kits,
    • 3 3D Scanners for the crime scene, including training,
    • 1 Thermal vision camera
    • 1 Bone Grinder for DNA extraction
    • 1 Chronograph to measure the velocity of projectiles
    • 1 Ultrasonic cleaner for bullets
    • 1 Gun vise for capturing metal materials,
    • 1 Electronic calibers for measuring bullets
    • 1 Electronic weight scale
  • AISP’s Ballistic Sector has been equipped with modern equipment for laboratory tests including:
    • 1 Ballistic Water Tank, including training,
    • 1 Thermal Cycler PCR Reader Machine,
    • 1 Comparative Microscope for ballistic examination,
    • 5 Stereoscopic microscopes
    • 5 sets of IT equipment
    • 8 metal shelves
  • The development of a tailored Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) is ongoing, and LIMS will be in place for the AISP and the regional CSI units by end 2021.
  • Twelve Metal Shelves for carrying ballistic evidence
  • Four sets of Office Furniture
  • Three sets of IT equipment (computer, printer/scanner, barcode reader, barcode printer, UPS)
  • Two Special Workbenches for ballistic examination with respective suitcases of tools.
  • Five pairs of Earplugs and Protective Goggles for use during polygon shooting to protect the shooter. 
  • Five Scaling Meters to take photos of evidence, as currently random and inappropriate meters are used.
  • Storage for the LIMS system, enabling the system to be kept online in case of a power outage. 
  • Licensed firewall software, enabling LIMS online work through tablets in a secure communication network. 
  • One UPS 20 Kva, as often voltage fluctuations cause interruptions and problems during the examination processes.
  • Five Laser Distance Measuring for facilitating work during the processing of the crime scene.

Project Outcome

    Component 1:       Enhanced Capacities of CSI Units

    Component 2:      Develop Evidence Management Systems

    Component 3:      Upgrade Equipment for Ballistic Sector

    Impact

    START DATE

    April 2019

    END DATE

    December 2022

    STATUS

    Ongoing

    PROJECT OFFICE
    IMPLEMENTING PARTNER

    United Nations Development Programme

    DONORS

    MPTF-Western Balkans SALW Control Roadmap MPTF

    UNDP Funding Windows

    TOTAL CONTRIBUTIONS

    $8,016,065

    DELIVERY IN PREVIOUS YEARS

    2019$233,920

    2020$2,166,370

    2021$2,367,889

    2022$1,449,038

    Full Project information