The Police Forensic Centre contributes to the delivery of justice, thanks to equipment purchased by the U.S. Government and UNDP
August 15, 2022
Evidence in criminal investigations can be examined faster and more efficient by the experts of the Police Forensic Centre (PFC), thanks to state-of-the-art equipment, in value of US$165,000, purchased by UNDP with the support of the U.S. Government, in the framework of the UNDP project “Support to Law Enforcement Reform in Moldova”.
Two spectrometers were donated to the Substance Examination Unit of the PFC. One of these – the Raman spectrometer – is portable and can be used not only in the laboratory but also during crime scene investigations to identify different types of substances such as drugs and precursors, explosive substances as well as various dangerous chemicals. With the help of this device, experts can even identify substances that are packed in glass or plastic, without having to be opened. The spectral library has 30,000 spectra of compounds, which are used to examine evidence, in any form. Previously, the PFC had 16,000 spectra.
The other donated spectrometer, FTIR, is stationary and can analyse both large sized evidence as well as micro-traces such as fibres, varnishes, and paints, from a car crash scene, for instance. The new equipment allows examination of traces down to 100 microns, i.e. particles you can't see with the naked eye.
To use efficiently the new equipment, the staff of the unit benefited from specialised training.
Since the beginning of the year, the Substance Examination Unit of the PFC carried out more than 1,000 expertise reports, 90% of which concern drugs.
Another donated device – a highly sensitive microanalytical balance – allows analysis of even miniscule quantities of substances, with up to six decimal places accuracy. The equipment previously owned by the PFC ensured accuracy of only three decimal places.
Experts note that the new balance can determine amounts down to 2 micrograms.
At the same time, with support from UNDP and the U.S. Government, a high-performance computer was purchased for the PFC Digital Forensics Unit, which is used to quickly retrieve and analyse information from mobile phones and other gadgets. The process lasts now for one hour, while before, with the old equipment, it took up to 24 hours.
“One of the core missions of the Ministry of Internal Affairs is to ensure the safety of the citizens of the Republic of Moldova. We prioritize our efforts to offer the subdivisions of the Ministry the equipment they need to carry out their work at the highest of standards. On this occasion, we would like to thank the U.S. Government and the development partners for their continued support in creating an efficient and people-centered Police system,” said Serghei Diaconu, General Secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
“We are confident that the equipment here today, and the accompanying training we are providing, will bolster the capacities of the Police Forensic Lab and, more importantly, strengthen Moldova’s criminal justice system. Of course, proper equipment makes a difference, but the hard work and dedication of Moldovan law enforcement personnel is the most important factor,” said Brett Rose, Director of Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement of the U.S. Embassy to the Republic of Moldova.
“The efficiency of justice depends to a considerable extent on how evidence is collected and managed in criminal proceedings. High-performance devices for carrying out various forensic and technical examinations ensure that the process of collecting and administering evidence is done efficiently and qualitatively. UNDP Moldova will continue to support law enforcement bodies in their efforts to align their technical and material base with the latest technological developments and ensure the rights of the litigants,” mentioned Olesea Perean, Programme Specialist, UNDP Moldova.
The PFC carries out forensic examinations at the request of various institutions, including the Ministry of Internal Affairs and its subordinate structures, the Prosecutor's Office, the National Anticorruption Centre, and the courts. The PFC prepares extrajudicial expertise reports at the request of individuals and legal entities.
Since 2014, the Police Forensic Centre has benefited from assistance provided by the U.S. Government through UNDP Moldova.
Thanks to these interventions, in February 2018 the institution was internationally accredited in eight areas of expertise: ballistics, traceology, dactyloscopy, graphoscopy, forensic examination of documents, portrait, drugs examination, and computer investigations. Police forensic laboratories were endowed with equipment and software required for accreditation.
In 2021, the PFC obtained international accreditation for detection of amphetamine-type substances using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry method.
The PFC has benefited from software programs used to retrieve and recover audio/video recordings and other metadata from various devices, so as to analyse these.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Police of the Republic of Moldova have a long-lasting collaboration with the U.S. Government and UNDP, during which various activities were carried out to strengthen institutional and professional capacities of police to ensure a safe environment for all men and women in the Republic of Moldova and increase people’s trust in police.