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Commissioner and Home Secretary visit defence research lab

The Met Commissioner has made a surprise visit to the country’s top defence research laboratory. She was shown the latest developments in body armour designs and counter terrorism technology.

Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick has been briefed on the research into equipment that will improve detection of specialist crimes and make officers safer.

She was updated during a fact-finding visit to the government’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory headquarters to see the latest innovations focused on policing.

Her visit came just days after a similar visit by Home Secretary Priti Patel.

It coincides with government reviews into the future of policing and officer safety as well as the Comprehensive Spending Review which will set budgets and efficiency targets for forces.

She was shown the latest body armour designs, research into new ways to detect knife crime and work to help prevent chemical attacks.

The Commissioner was briefed on developments aimed at cutting cyber crime and toured Dstl’s new state-of-the-art Energetics Analysis Centre. It is the UK’s centre of excellence for explosives detection.

The DSTL is one of the world’s top defence laboratories and leads on research to equip all parts of the UK Armed Forces as well as government organisations such as the Met Office.

Established in 1916 as the War Department Experimental Station, it has supported police forces in major incidents including Wiltshire police following the chemical attack. It has also provided support in the aftermath of the Manchester Arena and Parsons Green train bombings in 2017.

Chief Executive of Dstl, Gary Aitkenhead, said: “Since the integration of the Home Office’s science services into Dstl, we have continued to deliver enhanced S&T to the police service, with access to the full range of our specialist capabilities and synergies such as military and policing body armour.

“The Commissioner’s visit has been a valuable opportunity to demonstrate the breadth of current innovations and examine ways we can work even more effectively with the police.”

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