Dutch authorities to intensify ballistics investigations
The police and the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) are intensifying the investigation into firearms that have been seized. This should speed up the process of confirming whether a certain firearm was used in a shooting incident and increase the number of such matches.
"Around 600 shooting incidents take place in our country every year; there are victims in several dozen of them," said firearms expert Rob Hermsen of the NFI. "Ballistics investigations provide important evidence, for example in assassination investigations." Last year, such investigations resulted in 98 matches. That was a record, police said.
The NFI will now train more police officers to work with the system. There will also be additional places in the Netherlands where information about bullet casings will be processed, bringing the total to eight. Of the average 4,000 to 5,000 illegal firearms that the police confiscate each year, about 1,500 are now sent to the NFI for ballistics analysis. That must increase significantly.
In ballistics investigations the trajectory that a bullet travels is looked at, and shell casings from ammunition fired by a weapon are compared with casings already in the database. According to the police, the quality of the investigation is also improving thanks to 3D imaging techniques.
Reporting by ANP