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Crime and Policing Minister opens new research facility

The specialist operational and laboratory facility brings together law enforcement, policing and counter-terrorism interests alongside military research.

The Crime and Policing Minister Chris Philp has opened a new facility at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) to accommodate specialist operational and laboratory capabilities funded by the Home Office to support frontline users such as UK Policing and Border Force.

The integration of the former Home Office Centre for Applied Science and Technology (CAST) staff and capability at Dstl Porton Down was funded by the Home Office, providing bespoke trials, storage, laboratory, and research office space. It brings together law enforcement, policing and counter-terrorism interests alongside the UK’s military research; ideas can be exchanged and innovation funded in one area can be applied to multiple problems, which is also efficient and cost-effective.

The main capabilities housed in this facility include:

  • ground and water based search support to frontline investigations
  • audio surveillance
  • video and body worn surveillance
  • standoff contraband and threat-detection systems including x-ray and CT scanning
  • innovation spaces to allow for consideration of future science and technology challenges for law enforcement and front line services

Crime and Policing Minister Chris Philp said:

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory is a world-class research facility that plays a crucial role in developing the cutting-edge technology that protects this country from current and emerging threats.

Science and innovation are vital to our law enforcement, policing and counter-terrorism operations, and it was a privilege to open a new operational and research facility at Dstl.

Dstl Chief Executive, Paul Hollinshead, said:

There are many synergies between the challenges faced by police and security and also defence, such as protective clothing, concealment, surveillance and communication.

This new facility will enable us to harness the expertise from across Dstl more productively than was possible before. We are grateful that the minister could see the progress being made in vital areas of national security and hear from the specialists involved.

The minister saw a range of presentations from Dstl’s research programme which addresses key policing and Home Office priorities. These include:

  • the development of solutions to detect concealed knives and to discriminate between knives and other ‘pocket clutter’
  • the use of virtual reality to enhance training of specialist teams
  • the identification and funding of science and technology through the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) working with Dstl and the Home Office to ensure frontline services have access to the latest innovations
  • Ploughshare, which commercialises science and technology solutions for service users

Minister Chris Philp met staff involved in operational support and saw first-hand the specialist equipment available to assist regional forces.

Channel website: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/home-office

Original article link: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/crime-and-policing-minister-opens-new-research-facility

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