PNP Crime Laboratory Goes High-Tech with IBIS
CAMP CRAME, PHILIPPINES -- Select Filipino fans of the highly-popular CSI: Crime Scene Investigation television series will soon have the opportunity to have a closer look at one of the high-tech investigation systems that is a show mainstay. On December 15th, the Philippine National Police (PNP) held a soft launch of its Integrated Ballistic Identification System (IBIS)at the brand-new IBIS building in Camp Crame.
Manufactured by Forensic Technology of Montreal, Canada, IBIS is the de facto world standard in automated firearms identification systems, used in nearly 60 countries, including the United States, South Africa, and England. Utilizing state-of-the-art 3D imaging technology to capture, store, and rapidly compare huge numbers of digital ballistic images, IBIS dramatically shortens the time to find a match between two or more pieces of evidence.
With the traditional method the PNP currently uses to examine ballistic evidence with a comparison microscope, it would take a PNP Firearms Examiner, working 24/7, more than 13 years just to determine if the recovered evidence matches any of the more than 1,000,000 licensed firearms. On the criminal investigation side, it would take the same firearms examiner almost 1 ½ years to compare against the more than 100,000 pieces of ballistic evidence currently on file at the PNP Crime Laboratory.
It is this exceedingly long time to do manual comparison that limits the ability of investigators to leverage the tried and tested methods of firearms identification both in criminal investigation, and in law enforcement. IBIS promises to change all this. Once the databases are built, it will only be a matter of hours or even minutes for IBIS to compare a piece of evidence against the entire database of licensed firearms.
Recognizing the importance of firearms identification technology, the PNP has been trying to acquire IBIS since 1995. Budgetary constraints, however, frustrated all efforts; until the project was classified as priority project by the PNP Program Management Office under the PNP’s ongoing Integrated Transformation Program.
After a lengthy study, the PNP found out that the benefits if IBIS will be maximized by developing both a crime database, and a registration database. The crime database will enable investigators to “link” gun crimes, i.e., find out if ballistic evidence recovered from a particular crime scene came from a gun that has been used in other crimes. It will not tell investigators who the owner of the gun is. The registration database will contain data from all licensed guns in the country. Investigators will be able to rapidly identify the owner of a licensed gun from recovered ballistic evidence, if ever one is used in crime.
Manufactured by Forensic Technology of Montreal, Canada, IBIS is the world standard in automated firearms identification systems. Building on the established science of firearms and toolmark examination (commonly referred to as ballistics), wherein firearms are identified based on the unique markings they leave on bullets and cartridge cases fired from them, Forensic Technology developed a product that changed the paradigm in the way firearms crimes are investigated. The technology is considered revolutionary in the field of forensic ballistics. It is the backbone of United States’ National Integrated Ballistic Identification Network (NIBIN).