THE home secretary was left "exceptionally impressed" after visiting the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) in Porton Down, where she was shown first-hand the latest research in protecting UK police and citizens.

On Monday the Right Honourable Priti Patel visited Dstl’s headquarters to find out how science was supporting the police force, as well as hear how Dstl forensic scientists provided evidence that helped with more than 150 terrorism convictions between 2016 and 2019.

Gary Aitkenhead, Dstl’s Chief Executive, said that improving current uniforms and protection for police officers are some of the programmes currently underway, adding: “It has been a great opportunity to show the home secretary the science that’s already saving lives of both those serving in our police forces as well as UK civilians.

"We have gained a real insight into the many challenges the home office and its policing and security are facing.

“Dstl is about the future and we are proud to share the incredible research currently being undertaken by our scientists. We have a long history of protecting our Armed Forces and I am proud that we are able to serve those outside of the Ministry of Defence.”

During her visit Ms Patel was shown female body armour designs, virtual training concepts, knife crime detection and corrosive substance detection to help prevent chemical attacks.

Following the visit the home secretary said: “This Government is committed to giving police the resources they need and empowering them to use technologies to fight crime and keep the public safe.

“I am exceptionally impressed to see how Dstl is contributing to this priority through science and technology, which is directly benefitting crime reduction and providing better protection for our dedicated police officers.

“This research and development is absolutely crucial to keeping our country and citizens safe and it is exciting to see the work come to fruition.”