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Fourth Belize Forensic Science Symposium launched

Posted: Friday, April 19, 2024. 11:09 am CST.

By Zoila Palma Gonzalez: The Ministry of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries via its National Forensic Science Service and the Belize Crime Observatory, in partnership with the University of Belize, launched the fourth Belize Forensic Science Symposium at the Jaguar Auditorium, University of Belize.

This initiative is part of the InfoSegura Project, a citizen security regional strategic partnership between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which has been central to enhancing the capacities of key institutions ensuring the security of Belize’s citizens over the past decade.

A joint press release explained that the symposium will showcase how public service data from the forensics, law enforcement and health systems can be used to support evidence-based decisions and policies to achieve better citizen security outcomes.

Other objectives include increasing stakeholder awareness of the roles that data from the forensics, law enforcement and health systems play in the justice system; sharing experiences and procedural successes that aim to strengthen local forensic, law enforcement and health systems; and expanding local and international scientific and public health partnerships for targeted impact, increased public confidence, and sustainability.

“At the Ministry, we constantly enrich our policymaking and decision-making processes by sharpening our focus through an evidence-based lens. In order for us to implement effective programs that will reduce crime and violence in Belize, as well as to take an all-of-government approach aimed at reducing preventable injury and death, such data-informed discussions like the ones had today will continue to reverberate within the halls of Government and certainly have a positive impact on the services we provide to the public,” Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries Kareem Musa said.

Ian King, UNDP’s Deputy Resident Representative, stated, “I am thrilled to see the fourth Forensic Symposium bringing together policymakers, data users, and academia to discuss crucial issues like gender-based violence, road traffic accidents, gun violence, and the necessity for DNA legislation. We believe that these data-driven discussions will serve as catalysts for transformative shifts in Belize’s safety measures, ultimately contributing to a safer and more secure future for all.”

Speakers at today’s symposium will include laboratory directors, legal medicine experts, professors, managers, and data analysts representing the National Forensic Science Services, Belize Crime Observatory, Belize Police Department, Ministry of Health & Wellness, Ministry of Youth, Sports, and Transport, University of Belize, UNDP, the Infosegura Regional Team, and private expert consultants.

The InfoSegura Project continues to support Belize via the Belize Crime Observatory to enhance the knowledge, capacities and lessons learned in the institutions that specialize in citizen security and justice.

 

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