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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Forensic science to help beat sophisticated criminals

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Wednesday January 12, 2011 – National Security Minister Dwight Nelson says the government will intensify its crime fighting measures in 2011, as part of efforts to see a continued reduction in crime and violence. One such measure, he said, will be the dedicated application of forensic science to counter the sophistication of the organised criminal world.

Minister Nelson said the government completely endorses the attempt to enhance law enforcement capabilities with the use of the latest technology in forensic science to fight criminal activity.

“The (government) continues to drive and provide a policy framework that seeks to enhance the abilities of the law enforcement agencies, the police force and the Jamaica Defence Force, to minimise criminal activities within and along our borders,” he said.

"I want to assure you that the training and awareness of forensic science, being accorded our professionals through projects, such as this conference, can only redound to the benefit of the government's efforts to break the back of crime and violence.”

The National Security Minister made the comments at the opening of the University of Technology (UTech) International Forensic Science Conference this week.

UTech President Professor Errol Morrison, said the conference would bring about useful outcomes that could be applied to the day-to-day fight against crime and violence.

"We intend to have outcomes that can help you (government) to apply to the daily work of your institutions. If that is not what we will achieve, then we would have failed," he said.

The two-day conference is being followed by an additional two days of practical hands on workshops on the University's Papine campus. Workshop participants will get exposure to 'Ballistics', 'use of DNA and other Biological Evidence', 'Techniques in Human Identification', and 'recovery of latent finger marks from fire scenes'.

The conference is part of the European Union/Edulink Programme-sponsored project, and is hosted under the theme: ‘Developing Education, Skills and Capacity in Forensic awareness in the Southern African Development Community and the Caribbean'.

UTech is one of three universities participating in the project. The others are: Staffordshire University, United Kingdom and the University of Mauritius. Staffordshire University, which leads the project, is recognised as an international centre of excellence in Forensic Science.

One of the main objectives of the Forensic capacity-building project is to develop the University of Mauritius and the UTech as Centres of Excellence in forensic education and training for their respective regions.

Local participants at the conference were drawn from the police, the army, the judiciary, the Bar Association, Office of Director of Public Prosecutions and the academic institutions.

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