https://governmentscienceandengineering.blog.gov.uk/2017/11/24/fit-for-duty/

Fit for Duty

Congratulations to the Centre of Applied Science and Technology (CAST) for being shortlisted for the ‘Use of Evidence’ category in this year’s Civil Service Awards.

Dr Thomas Payne, Senior Scientific Officer at CAST, discusses the potentially life-saving work of his team on internationally recognised body armour standards.

To Protect and Serve

The new Home Office Body Armour Standard (2017) is the first major international police body armour standard to be published in over 10 years. It represents the culmination of many years of painstaking research, testing, evaluations and specifications.

Through the work of my team at the Centre for Applied Science and Technology (CAST), we have provided a fundamental improvement in testing methods, ensuring that not only are they more reproducible and practical, but are also much more relevant to the possible life-threatening situations faced by our Police Force in the line of duty.

My team and I have had to adapt to the evolving needs of modern day policing; developing new armour which better reflects the operational needs of officers, endeavouring to keep them safe in the face of new and emerging threats. For instance, the proportion of female police officers has increased every year since 2007/8 up to 29% in 2017 for England and Wales. One of our most significant achievements was therefore the development of more anthropometrically accurate female test surrogates leading to a redesign of the body armour so that it provided a more realistic fit for female officers.

Collaboration is a key aspect of our work; the key to success of the project was from the outset liaising closely with police end users, manufacturers and test facilities to make sure we understood the operational requirements, to guarantee that our specifications were practical and met user needs. We worked closely with subject matter experts from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to develop statistical models, and completed production quality testing and In-Life monitoring to enable greater confidence in body armour performance throughout its lifespan.

CAST Body Armour Standard Team Members
The CAST Body Armour Standard Team

Awards and Recognition

I am really proud of the whole team for making the shortlist, taking us to the Civil Service Awards ceremony last night. Everyone has worked tremendously hard towards our goals throughout the development of the standard. And to have Civil Service wide recognition for our hard work is a really significant achievement for our team; it reflects the high quality, rigour and professionalism exhibited throughout.


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