Cops contaminated with GSR

| 12/10/2012

_DSC2665-web.jpg(CNS): A significant number of convictions and charges over firearms related cases could be at risk as a result of the amount of gun-shot residue (GSR) found at the George Town police station and on Uniform Support Group vehicles, equipment and officers. The findings of the survey conducted by the RCIPS into the levels of particle contamination show that there is a serious risk of contamination and transfer which could jeopardize cases where GSR is being used as evidence in trials or was used to bolster existing convictions. A memo by Scientific Support Manager Martin Gaule was disclosed to a local attorney in connection with a current case but it may have serious implications for many others.

The lawyer, who received the report albeit very late, said the findings had serious implications for many cases before the courts, going back sometime.

"The belated release of a RCIPS forensic report dated 29 August on 10 October suggests widespread GSR contamination in RCIPS buildings and cars," Peter Polack told CNS. "A request had been made for such a report to have been completed in July 2010 by me but was refused by the DPP representative. This report will possibly compromise all firearm convictions in which the court relied on GSR evidence in the past several years.”

Summarizing the random survey, Gaule tells the deputy police commissioner in the memo that he found high levels of GSR on one of the cells and the hands of some officers, low levels on  officers' uniforms and other cells, and trace levels at the custody suite, the USG vehicles and police equipment. He points out that this could adversely impact the value of GSR evidence in cases before the courts of those suspected of firing guns.

Gaule lists six recommendations for the RCIPS management to follow to reduce the risk to evidence. The forensic expert says it is not possible to entirely avoid GSR contamination and notes how the current levels demonstrate how easily particles can be transferred. As a result, he advises limiting the use of GSR evidence to cases where a weapon was very recently fired.

Besides bagging the hands of those arrested in connection with guns, Gaule recommends that firearms suspects are handled by officers who do not use guns themselves, wherever and whenever it is safe to do so. He suggests that suspects be conveyed in police cars not used by USG and that suspects are processed by scenes of crime officers or other non USG officers, supervised by someone from scenes of crime.

The forensic cop also recommends swabbing allthe areas where suspects are taken at the station and, above all, he stresses the need for USG officers using firearms at work or socially to take even morecare to wash their hands and clothes thoroughly after touching guns and ammunition.

In addition, Gaule points to the need to continue random surveys every six months to monitor GSR background levels at the station and on officers.

The findings, which are now public and likely to be of interest to the entire local criminal defence bar, could upset not just forthcoming trials where the GSR is an important part of the evidence but possibly past cases where GSR has played a part in the conviction of suspects in gun-related crimes.

See memo below.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    NEWS FLASH – Firearms cops leave GSR residue in their cars.

    OF COURSE THEY DO, they fire and handle guns.  Really this is shocking?  I think you will find no prisoner gets put in a police car with guns.  As for the cells, they need knocking down anyway


  2. Knot S Smart says:

    Oh Dear.

    Are they calling the Police  'Not So Smart'  too?

    I will have to change my name to 'Knot the Police'…

  3. Anonymous says:

    I always that that most of our boys locked up in Northward are inocent.


    Release them now !!

    • Anonymous says:

      Shut UP….Cant you see since they have been locked away the want a be gangs have stop killing each other.

  4. Donny Boy's legacy says:

    Look at the real mess we are in Nipped in the Bud as one poster posted in a previous post yes all you true believers and hawks what excuse will you offer up now and it would appear some in authority were trying very hard for this not to come to light from 2010 .Those in government incharge of the Police service were well aware of this issue of cross contamination from sometime back but like everything else have chosen to ignore and hide these facts for sake of "looking Good" at the cost of people's freedom and in the interest of justice how utterly disgraceful. When you look at who it was and is now can you honestly say those type of things would even cross their little minds how sad? I can assure you of one thing no one will ever be held accountable or responsible for it and the blame and contempt will be directed at the local attorney and the Scientific Support manager for revealing it.

  5. durrrr says:

    Polack continues his crusade against the RCIPS!

    The sad thing is that without him taking and publicising these failures, the Police would carry on bungling their way through investigation after investigation, not only allowing guilty suspects to walk, but potentially sending innocent people to jail, it seems. Where the hell isthe leadership?

    • Anonymous says:

      Your leadership is right where they belive they should be.  Off island living it up.  You got what you voted for.  All Caymanian, NO idea how to do the job.

  6. Soapbox Sally says:

    You have got to be kidding. Are they sprinkling it around like pixie dust? Most of them aren’t armed, so how are they managing to liberally dust themselves with gun residue?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Well tell me something the police are not washing theirs vehicles or what? and besides that it would seem like they are not washing their uniforms or taking a good bath.  What next?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Thank god for lawers like Peter polack! a lot of innocent people would rot in prison some people don’t realize how easy it is to get convicted with sloppy police work and don’t care prosecutors.

  9. Anonymous says:


    GSR is a roadside check and I'm not talking about the simple swabs but the newer binary tests that are admissible in court. Those kits only cost about $25 each and they should be standard issue for the crime scenes van.

    We seem to have a situation where RCIPS can buy fancy Dodge Chargers to patrol the streets but will not invest in the basic detection tools that their officers need to put the bad guys away.

    Doesn't that tell you something?


  10. Anonymos says:

    From far back as the 1980's when I was a young police detective, we never transported "police suspects in firearm cases" in vehicles that were prone that have GSR and when we did take swab's for GSR, we always used a "uniform officer" who never had contact with the case, and who never had contact with firearms period. 

    I suppose, the "UK Experts" who run the RCIPS, think otherwise these days. The leadership of the RCIPS is to blame for the GSR contamination and many of the other "screw up's" that exist. But you can't suggest or tell them that this would happen, they are the EXPERTS !!!!!    

    • bulloxks says:

      Never let the truth get tn the way of an opportunity to take a dig at the United Kingdom eh?



  11. Geez says:

    What are they doing ? rolling around in the stuff?