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Special team to probe gun theft at Forensic Centre
A team of ten police officers have been appointed to investigate the disappearance of over 40 guns from the Forensic Science Centre (FSC), St James. So said public information officer Insp Wayne Mystar yesterday during the police weekly press briefing. He said Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Crime Glenn Hackett formed the team which comprises officers from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), Anti-Corruption Investigations Bureau and the Fraud Squad.
It was reported on Monday over 40 guns, some high-powered rifles, were stolen some time between last year and July. The weapons had been taken to the centre for ballistic testing. Their disappearance was reported to the director of the centre, Arlette Lewis, by firearms expert Derek Sankar and Lewis reported the matter to the police. Mystar said the police were concerned over the missing weapons which were part of ongoing cases and whose disappearance may negatively affect those cases.
He added that the police were “most definitely” concerned about the security of exhibits stored at the building and other government buildings. The centre falls under the Ministry of Justice, led by minister Emmanuel George. In a text response to questions posed by the T&T Guardian, George said late on Tuesday Lewis told him of the disappearance of the guns.
He added: “Action has been taken to improve security arrangements to forestall any further disappearance of firearms or any other items stored there for forensic examination and safekeeping. “Relevant information has been handed to the police who have initiated investigations. We await the outcome.” He said the Ministry of Justice was disappointed by the occurrence.
“I would like to say much more but must be careful not to prejudge the police investigation or cast aspersions on anyone. I hope the matter is solved speedily,” George added. During a post Eid-ul-Fitr function on Tuesday, acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams said the police were concerned over the missing guns. He said: “I would have my concerns of firearms getting out of the Forensic Science Centre and into the hands of criminals.
“That is where my concerns would be because the Police Service is about getting the guns out of the hands of the criminals and to see firearms taken out of the hands of the criminals returning to the hands of the criminals is a major concern of mine.”