Dstl Case Study – Keith Gilert, Chief Superintendent
Keith Gilert is Dstl’s Senior Police Adviser in the Counter Terrorism and Security Division.
After more than 30 years of distinguished service in the police service, Keith Gilert joined the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) when the Home Office’s Centre for Applied Science and Technology (CAST) integrated with Dstl .
My role is centred on bringing a strategic perspective on science and technology (S&T) to the police service and representing police service interests across a range of programmes and projects, helping to steer both policy and the effective use of resources. I attend a wide range of meetings held by the National Police Chiefs Council, the Home Office, Ministry of Justice and the Police Superintendents Association, which represents the senior operational leaders of the service. My role is national by its nature and I spend a lot of time away from home at the meetings, particularly for the NPCC, which can be held anywhere in the country depending on who chairs each committee.
My colleagues in what was CAST integrated with Dstl at the beginning of April and are, mostly, now a part of the Policing and Security Group. As such, my three Police Adviser colleagues (Detective Superintendent Brendan Gilmour, Detective Chief Inspector Simon Chapman and Chief Inspector Becky Newman) and I have also found a natural home within the same Group. There are a number of clear synergies with work that was already ongoing within Dstl, and I hope that the skills, expertise and experience that we have will bring more to the fore as we continue with integration.
The most attractive part of the role is being able to work at the front-edge of new or evolving S&T – it is a constant challenge to drive innovation forward, seek out new opportunities to use S&T in policing and bring useful technologies to the front line. I suppose, therefore, that the most rewarding part of the role is seeing new technologies taken up into service that make policing (and by extension wider law enforcement) safer, more effective or more efficient , but we also have to undertake a lot of work in the background to get the policy right – and sometimes that can be a significant challenge.
The Police Advisers each have main areas of work (crime, counter-terrorism, and front line / operations respectively); my role is more about co-ordination and representation, but I have worked closely with the Ministry of Justice and the police on electronic monitoring (tagging), and with the Department for Transport and the Home Office on how we should approach developing the next generation of evidential breath testing instruments.
I am very grateful for the incredibly warm welcome my colleagues and I have received at all the Dstl sites, and I am constantly surprised by the work carried out by them. It is quite remarkable how close my role is to that of the Senior Military Advisers and I think that it’s clear that the area will be an increasingly strong partnership over time.