Reducing the threat of terrorism

Enhancing operational readiness

07 July 2019 | Ministries

Allan Grimmer; Interpol; “The tactics used by terror groups are continually changing…”

Irene-Mari van der Walt



Nigerian and Namibian law enforcement officials attended a Chemical Awareness and Scene Management (CHASM) training course at The Dome in Swakopmund.

The 5-day Train the Trainer course designed by Interpol and funded by the government of Canada, aims to equip law enforcement officials to deal with complicated chemical and contaminated crime scenes. It provides crime scene investigators and managers with an awareness of operating in such a difficult environment. Officers are also trained to reduce terrorism and ensure the successful prosecution of suspects involved in acts of terrorism through proper evidence gathering.

“CHASM is designed to assist persons on the front line to be trained and be confident in dealing with complicated chemical crime scenes,” said course coordinator Allan Grimmer.

“We know in law enforcement that forensic evidence recovered at a crime scene, whether bio-metric data like fingerprints, DNA or electronic evidence recovered from a mobile phone, or computer or tablet, is vital in prosecuting individuals involved.”

Grimmer is the coordinator for the Interpol Chemical and Explosive Terrorism Prevention Unit and was involved as an investigator and a bomb scene manager in high-profile cases such as the London Bombings of 2005. He also served as the Designated Bomb Scene Manager at the 2012 London Olympic Games.



Looking ahead

This is the 4th Interpol course of its kind, with ten Namibians acting as observers. The initial CHASM course for Nigerian officials was hosted in Abuja in May 2017, and there are plans to host similar training for Namibians.

Grimmer said that at the moment terrorism in Namibia is of low impact, which bodes well for the country. “You must however, always be alert to terrorist threats. Criminal acts intended to provoke a state of terror in the general public by using Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) is a global problem.

“The tactics used by terror groups are continually changing with public transport, street markets and other soft targets as the favoured bombing locations these days. This is continually demonstrated in many countries where it is becoming increasingly difficult for governments to control terrorism due to several terrorist groups operating.”

He expressed the hope that the CHASM Train the Trainer course is another tool that can be used to arrest individuals' intent on causing harm to people and countries.

Erongo police commissioner Andreas Nelumbu hailed the training as of huge importance and urged the Namibian participants to pay special attention.

“We must remain vigilant of Interpol activities and enhance our capacity through training. New trends demand more advanced and proper management of crime scenes. It requires a high degree of accuracy, which is critical for effective investigation. The integrity of evidence gathered must be maintained. This is also a perfect opportunity to bridge the gap, share information, and generate new ideas as well as action plans.”