Basseterre, St. Kitts — He is a forensic science technician working in the Crime Scene Unit of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force. A holder of a Masters Degree in Forensics, Mr Ciaran Phillip is the embodiment of the finest the Federation can produce.
Armed with the top-notch qualification he did what ordinary Kittitians and Nevisians know is best for them, and approached the People Employment Programme (PEP) at the end October last year. By the end of November he had been posted to work at the Crime Scene Unit.
“I assist in the identification, documentation and collection of items as physical evidence at crime scenes,” observed Mr Phillip. “Basically what we do as a speciality in the Double Casting Unit, which is where I am presently stationed, is that we make clones of ballistics evidence.”
He explained that when they find shell casings at crime scenes they clone them, and make casts of them and send them off to be analysed at the Royal Barbados Police Force Forensics Science Laboratory.
“By doing that we are able to tell if these are coming from the same weapons or if we are having shootings by persons who possess the same weapons,” noted Mr Phillip. “We are trying to help provide investigative leads so we could find out if we could actually track down and arrest these people.”
Head of the Double Casting Unit Constable Damien Challenger, in acknowledging the newcomer’s input, said that Mr Phillip who is working there in a civilian capacity has brought some clarity in terms of proper labelling in the work they do.
“We have been having some situations where evidence wasn’t properly labelled,” observed Mr Challenger. “Being a scientist himself he sticks to a strict routine and that has been helpful to us here.
“Since the arrival of Mr Phillip we were able to conclude and get rid of sixty cases. Normally that would take us a much longer period of time. He is somebody whose expertise is definitely needed and we are looking forward to having more people like him but also as disciplined as he is. He is very well disciplined.”
Mr Ciaran Phillip was one of the 30 law enforcement personnel from Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica and hosts St. Kitts and Nevis that participated in a five-day crime scene training organised under the Regional Security System (RSS) Training Institute that was held at the Police Training Complex in Basseterre in the period January 20 to 24.
The Crime Scene First Responders Course was designed to strengthen officers’ role and responsibilities when responding to scenes and to develop the respondents’ capacity to secure, preserve, maintain and handover scenes with minimum contamination or destruction of physical evidence.
It also sought to enhance officers’ awareness of forensic science and provide them with the knowledge of foreseeing attendance duties.
“I was very successful there, now presently certified as a First Responder to a Crime Scene,” said Mr Phillip. “So, it is a good opportunity hopefully this is a good start for me and I hope to move on to bigger and better things after the People Employment Programme.”
Unknown to him, Commissioner of Police Mr C.G. Walwyn had the previous day in a separate interview stated that he was happy with Phillip’s performance and promised that as time goes on he would be removed from PEP and be given a permanent job with the Police Force.
Phillip, who was born and raised in Monkey Hill, St. Peters, on St. Kitts, received his Masters Degree from the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, USA.
Why did he go the People Employment Programme, even though armed with a Masters Degree?
“I decided to go to PEP because when I came back to St. Kitts I was trying to at least find a start at some type of employment for me to do and I thought that at the very least the PEP would provide me with an opportunity to start somewhere,” he explained.
“You have got to start something and build and move forward. So that is really why I looked into applying to PEP … it is a nice position that I have gotten now, is somewhere where I think my skills can be used, and somewhere where I think I could add value.”