x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Gun 'fingerprints' to be collected by police

New machines will allow officers to track the unique signatures of various firearms and their bullets.

ABU DHABI // Forensics police will soon be able to identify weapons and bullets by the unique signatures left on both when a firearm is used, officials said at a crime scene investigation conference in the capital today.

Thirteen machines will do the analysis, allowing police to work with what amounts to a "fingerprint" for a bullet. Hand-in-hand with that, they will establish a weapon database for the country that will hold not just those signatures, but record physical features of firearms so they can track fake, illegal and smuggled weapons.

Any weapons shipped into the country will be examined before licensing.

"So if I receive a weapon from Afghanistan, I will definitely not license it until I take it to the centre," said Col Abdulrahman al Hamadi, head of the Abu Dhabi Police Forensics Department.

The crime-scene investigation section is also opening a new evidence-storage centre that can preserve items for up to 30 years. Before the section was launched in 2005, there were no provisions for storing evidence. Preserving the evidence is also crucial, officials said, and an awareness program in universities across the UAE plans to drive that point home for everyday citizens who may come across a crime scenes.