New high-tech forensic systems in T&T

As the coun­try grap­ples with the spi­ralling crime rate, the Gov­ern­ment has an op­por­tu­ni­ty to in­vest in an ad­vanced foren­sic sys­tem which can help po­lice solve crime in a time­ly and ef­fi­cient man­ner.

The mul­ti-mil­lion dol­lar Scan­ning Elec­tron Mi­cro­scope (SEM) and Nano-Analy­sis, one of the lat­est foren­sic sys­tems in the world, is here in T&T at In-Corr-Tech Ltd, a lead­ing in­spec­tion and en­gi­neer­ing ser­vice firm, at Cross Cross­ing, San Fer­nan­do. 

The sys­tem has ac­tu­al­ly been here since 2010, but the com­pa­ny has now in­vest­ed in a more ad­vanced mod­el which was on­ly launched in March. 

With this sys­tem, which costs be­tween US$200,000 and US$500,000, bal­lis­tics and gun­pow­der residue analy­sis, which some­times take years to do at the Foren­sic Sci­ence Cen­tre and re­sults in a de­lay in court mat­ters, could be done in about 20 min­utes. 

The sys­tem’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties are sim­i­lar to what is seen in those CSI tele­vi­sion shows, ex­plained In-Corr-Tech Ltd’s vice pres­i­dent Riza Khan at a re­cent sem­i­nar held at the com­pa­ny to in­tro­duce the new tools and tech­niques to the pri­vate and pub­lic sec­tors. 

Pur­chased from JE­OL Ltd USA, a world leader in elec­tron mi­cro­scop­ic equip­ment, Khan said a sim­i­lar sem­i­nar was held in 2010 when they brought in the first SEM sys­tem. 

Khan said, “Un­for­tu­nate­ly, de­spite the Foren­sic Sci­ence Cen­tre com­ing here eight years ago for a sim­i­lar sem­i­nar, we have not been asked to do any crime de­tec­tion work in the last five years. A gun­shot residue analy­sis we did in three hours on the old­er ma­chine we can now do in 20 min­utes. “

He said the sys­tem does a lot of test­ing down to the 3000 x mag­ni­fi­ca­tion lev­el where­as nor­mal op­ti­cal mi­cro­scopes could on­ly get to 2000 times mag­ni­fi­ca­tion, as well as it us­es elec­tron beams to in­ter­act with a spec­i­men.

“So you could de­ter­mine what the el­e­men­tal analy­sis of any par­tic­u­lar com­po­nent or ma­te­r­i­al. So you get a spec­trum in re­al time sim­i­lar to what you will see on tele­vi­sion in those CSI shows, ” he not­ed.

Khan said the sys­tem can as­sist in de­tect­ing if a drug is coun­ter­feit and de­ter­mines the cause and ori­gin of a fire with­in min­utes. 

JE­OL’s re­gion­al sales man­ag­er Robb West­by said, “The best and the most ac­cu­rate way to analyse gun­shot residue and bal­lis­tic is with the SEM tech­niques.

West­by said while there are oth­er foren­sic sys­tems in the coun­try, the clos­est one to this new tech­nol­o­gy is about ten years old. The sem­i­nar was at­tend­ed by per­son­nel from the Po­lice Ser­vice, Foren­sic Sci­ence Cen­tre, the food and drug in­dus­try, uni­ver­si­ties and up­stream and down­stream op­er­a­tors.

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