Police start profiling firearms

Victor Maphosa Herald Correspondent
Police have started creating a record of the unique profile of every firearm in the country, as licences are issued or renewed, allowing them to eventually quickly identify the weapon used in any case under investigation.

Every firearm generates unique markings on a fired round, and for decades, police have used this to tie a recovered firearm to a particular crime or use.

Now they are recording the unique profiles in advance.

Many weapons used by criminals are licensed guns that have been stolen or have been acquired in dubious sales, and so a data bank of profiles will assist identification even if a particular firearm has ceased to be validly licensed.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said in a statement the recording of the profiles will be done free of charge at the ballistics section at CID Headquarters in Harare.

“ZRP’s Criminal Investigations Department has put in place an initiative whereby firearm holders have weapons profiled by the department’s ballistics section before acquiring a firearms licence or renewing the already existing licence,” he said.

“The new development by CID is aimed at profiling and accounting for all firearms in the country. The process started on January 2, 2019.

“Firearm holders are to bring their firearms together with three live rounds for the process to the ballistics section which is situated at CID Headquarters along Chinamano Avenue in Harare and the process is being conducted free of charge.”

Asst Comm Nyathi urged holders of firearms to take advantage of the initiative to have their weapons profiled.

The initiative by the police comes at a time when the country has experienced a surge in criminal activities where citizens have been robbed by thugs armed with firearms.

Some have since lost their lives.

Recently, South Africa-based lecturer Sam Mambande, who was celebrating the New Year at a popular pub in Chipinge’s Gaza high-density suburb, was shot in the forehead and died on the spot.

Asst Comm Nyathi said police were appealing for information from the public to help arrest the killer, who was in a blue Honda Fit.

Last week, armed robbers pounced on a Harare-based forex dealer Mr Edmore Kanyangira armed with firearms, shot him once in the head and twice in his left leg before fleeing with almost $10 000 and US$300.

“During the struggle, three other robbers came in and started assaulting me, demanding to know where I keep my cash,” he said.

“When they realised I was not giving in, one of them instructed the others to kill me.

“That is when they shot me first in my left leg and later in the head, but fortunately the bullet only grazed my head.

“When I collapsed, they threatened to kill my wife who gave them $10 000, US$300 and cellphones.”’

Since the beginning of 2019, police have been investigating cases of armed robberies where firearms were used, several arrests have been made and pistols recovered.

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