Ministry of Interior to analyse gunshot residue using state-of-the-art microscope provided by UNDP

August 30, 2023


When firearms are discharged, a cloud consisting of numerous microscopic particles is generated, ranging from several thousand to tens of thousands. These particles disperse within a three-meter radius. The gunshot residue remains on the hands of the shooter for a duration of two to four hours, in the hair for seven to 12 hours, and can linger on the clothing of the individual who wielded the weapon for up to 24 hours. These particles frequently serve as crucial evidence in determining whether a specific person used a weapon in a criminal act. The precision and effectiveness of their detection and analysis rely heavily on the equipment employed for this purpose. 

The Ministry of Interior has installed a state-of-the-art microscope within the Forensic Department chemical laboratory, which employs scanning electron technology to meticulously analyze gunshot residue (GSR) particles. This is the world's first specialized desktop device designed for automated gunshot residue particle analysis, and it was made available to the Ministry of Interior through the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

“This device holds immense significance for enhancing the functionality of our crime-scene investigation techniques, and we anticipate its substantial contribution to expediting and streamlining the resolution of cases involving firearm usage. The integration of novel and advanced technologies stands as a foundational principle within the operations of the Ministry of Interior, and that is why I consider this announcement to be of utmost importance not only for our institution but also for our personnel, who will acquire valuable skills and expertise in gunshot residue particle analysis.”
- Oliver Spasovski, Minister of Interior


The equipment worth over 10.5 million denars was acquired under the project "Improvement of Data and Small Arms and Light Weapons Collection Practices and SALW-related investigations", implemented by the UNDP. 

“For the past four years, UNDP has diligently worked on enhancing the Ministry of Interior's abilities to tackle firearm misuse which stands as a leading cause of incidents in the country. Providing this equipment is just one of our commitments to support the Ministry’s effort. The police now possesses a new and effective instrument to combat the illegal use of small arms and light weapons, and I hope it significantly helps in upholding the safety of the citizens.”
- Armen Grigoryan, UNDP Resident Representative


The procurement of the specialized microscope is financed by the governments of FR Germany, Sweden, France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Norway through the United Nations Multi-Partner Trust Fund, aimed at implementing the Roadmap for Small Arms and Light Weapons Control in the Western Balkans, an initiative supported by the European Union.

In the past period, as part of this Roadmap, UNDP has supported establishing a new Police Information System and the upgrade of the Weapons Registration management System and has also organized specialized trainings for over 500 police officers. Additionally, last year, in partnership with the Ministry of Interior, UNDP led the campaign “Every bullet has a target! Celebrate with your heart, not your gun”, intended to raise public awareness of the dangers arising from the possession and improper use of small arms and light weapons.