Belgrade, 19 March 2021 – With the support of the German Government and in partnership with UNDP SEESAC, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) donated the equipment for crime scene investigations and forensic and ballistic examination worth $600,000 to the National Forensic Centre and police directorates across Serbia. The equipment is intended for police officers and forensic technicians, and will contribute to their speed and efficiency in investigating crime scenes, collecting and analysing evidence, examining and storing exhibits in accordance with international standards.
Minister of the Interior, Aleksandar Vulin, said while accepting the donation, that no crime in Serbia will remain unsolved and that the perpetrators will always be brought to justice.
“This would not have been possible without trained people and without exceptionally equipped ballistic and forensic laboratories. Thanks to the generous support of UNDP and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany, we can say that members of the Serbian police, who are working on investigations, are not lagging behind their colleagues in richer and more developed countries. There will always be crime, but they must know that crime will not pay off in Serbia and that no crime will remain unsolved, that the police will always find them and bring them to justice”, pointed out Minister Vulin.
In the central ballistic laboratory of the National Forensic Centre in Belgrade, the reception room for evidence and room for storing and searching the Open Case File were adapted and equipped according to international procedures and standards. They now have special cabinets for storing evidence, security locks with access control, a microscope and examination equipment. This adaptation and equipment will ensure that each new case is adequately recorded and tracked in the custody chain, i.e. that evidence from unsolved cases is stored and analysed without mixing with other evidence collected by the police, which contributes to the objectivity of the police investigation.
German Ambassador in Serbia, Mr Thomas Schieb, pointed out that this country, together with France and the European Union, is committed to improving law enforcement capacities in the fight against all types of crime.
“This support is part of the Regional Roadmap endorsed by the Western Balkan heads of Government in 2018, and it addresses all aspects of small arms and light weapons control. Implementation of the Regional Roadmap for SALW Control will significantly contribute to the improvement of the regional cooperation in the fight against crime and it will help Serbia on its path towards the EU”, explained Mr Schieb, adding that today’s donation is part of a wider regional project funded by Germany with more than 5.5 million euros.
A mobile container with a water tank for test firing and projectile recovery for examination was provided for precise examination and analysis, and it is used to identify the weapons used in a crime. Water as a medium ensures slowing down and recovery of fired projectiles without any damage, so test firing requires only a small space, while putting the complete equipment in a container ensures soundproofing and a high level of safety.
The equipment delivered to the National Forensic Centre in Belgrade includes 3D scanners with animation and reconstruction software, which will significantly reduce the time needed for crime scene investigations and minimize the possibility of omission due to human error.
The procurement of the state-of-the-art equipment, along with the training of police officers for its use and the standardization of work methods, is part of the preparation of the Forensic Centre and the ballistic laboratory in Belgrade for accreditation according to international ISO standards.
“Thanks to the support of the German Government, and in partnership with SEESAC, UNDP is helping the Ministry of the Interior to improve the work standards and operating procedures, especially the investigation process and custody chain, to ensure timely convictions for firearms-related crimes. The state-of-the-art equipment for crime scene investigations and forensic and ballistic examination that we hander over today will help create a safer environment for all the people in Serbia and the region, and contribute to the faster achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, especially those that call for peace, justice and strong institutions and gender equality”, said Francine Pickup, UNDP Resident Representative in Serbia.
Operational forensic teams in 27 police directorates across Serbia also received equipment for collecting, analysing and examining evidence, which includes laptop computers, special forensic light sources for detection of invisible biological and other traces, cameras, as well as specialized forensic equipment for identifying and collecting forensic evidence.
The modern forensic equipment was provided within the project “Advancing the Capacities of the Ministry of the Interior in the Field of Custody Chain, Crime Scene Investigations and the Ballistic Laboratory in the Field of Operations and Investigations in Trafficking of Firearms and Firearms Criminality”, implemented by UNDP in partnership with SEESAC, with the support of the German Government. The aim of this initiative is to strengthen the capacities of the Ministry of the Interior in the entire investigative cycle in the custody chain in order to improve investigations and achieve regular convictions.