Derek Forest OBE


 Personal Profile

Derek retired from West Midlands Police having served for 30 years, and retired as a Detective Superintendent. He was a trained Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) for serious and major crime and a trained Senior Identification Manager (SIM) for Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) in mass fatality incidents.

Derek spent ten years as Head of the West Midlands Forensic Services Unit managing over 200 forensic experts and during that time was a prominent member of many national forensic development groups including the National DNA Operations Group and the National DNA Strategy Board. He represented the UK on the INTERPOL DNA Monitoring Expert Group for more than 2 years. More recently he was a member of the ACPO UK National Forensic Programme Board delivering the Forensics 21 Programme to UK Policing.

Derek has specialised and trained extensively in managing mass fatality incidents. He was one of the founder members of the national UK Disaster Victim Identification Team (UK DVI) and he has gained significant experience as a DVI Commander for the UK over recent years with extensive experience of working overseas in extremely challenging circumstances.

Derek was posted to Thailand for 16 months following the Indian Ocean Tsunami of December 2004 which killed over 270,000 people where he held the position of International IMC Commander. During this time he shared responsibility for both the strategic management of this massive international disaster response and the day to day management of both law enforcement and forensic staff in total drawn from 31 different nations around the world. This event is one of the largest DVI operations ever carried out for a natural disaster and is the largest collaboration of international police resources ever assembled. It produced many learning points for the management of future disasters. 

In 2005, Derek was deployed to Egypt as a strategic DVI advisor following the hotel bombings in Sharm El Sheikh which killed 93 victims in three separate bomb attacks. The challenges of this operation were again made more difficult with the intense heat and extremely difficult working conditions which were significant in ensuring the forensic integrity of the identification procedures.

In addition, Derek provided advice to the USA authorities on the disaster response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and has provided guidance and support on numerous other disasters including the Thai Airways Air Crash in Phuket during 2006.

In June 2009, Derek was appointed as the UK Senior Identification Manager in respect of the British victims involved in the Air France aircraft crash into the Atlantic Ocean which killed 228 victims. He was deployed to Brazil to assist in the strategic planning for recovery, identification, and repatriation process of the recovered victims.

Derek is a qualified trainer and has previously worked alongside numerous local authorities, hospitals trusts, and universities in the UK, together with foreign governments, developing emergency plans and infrastructure to support future mass fatality incidents. This work has included the development of capacity and capability relating to local mortuaries, temporary mortuaries and demountable resilience mortuaries. He brings practical experience to the planning process to ensure that when needed they will deliver.

Derek has also trained, lectured, and presented all over the world on DVI and Disaster Management related matters and has been a strong supporter of both the INTERPOL DVI Standing Committee and a member of the INTERPOL DVI Steering Committee in helping to promote international standards for disaster management on a global basis. He has been a frequent visitor to INTERPOL Headquarters in Lyon and has co-authored a 156 page Tsunami Evaluation report and subsequent recommendations published to all 192 member states of the international community via the INTERPOL web site.

Since retirement from the police service, Derek is presently self employed developing his own international business known as Scilife Solutions Ltd. His services in consultancy are aimed at supporting law enforcement and government agencies both in the UK and overseas in developing forensic strategies, training, response strategies, infrastructure, training and capacity building for the management of forensic facilities and for managing future disasters. He has recently worked in Libya advising on the recovery and identification of victims from the civil conflict. He has also been working in Saudi Arabia as an adviser to the government on policing strategies.

Derek has designed and delivered both training and exercises in a variety of subjects mainly associated to law enforcement agencies and other emergency services. He has a broad knowledge of managerial and strategic planning and is experienced in delivering crisis management training both in the public sector and the commercial world.

Derek is also a part time lecturer at Wolverhampton University delivering various modules on the forensic science MSc courses.

In January 2010, Derek was proud to be awarded the OBE for his services to policing in her Majesty’s New Year Honours List.

Tony Armstrong MABI


Personal Profile

Tony retired from West Midlands Police having served for 30 years. He has a strong background as a traffic officer with more than 18 years experience in that field including accident investigation. He is also a trained surveillance operative in both foot and mobile capability but specialised as a surveillance motor cyclist. He is an experienced road traffic collision investigator in both the private and civil sector.

Since leaving the force, he has worked within the environment of accident management and has specialised in the investigation of fraud and loss prevention. His depth of knowledge in this particular aspect of accident investigation has enabled us to develop a number of key services in support of the insurance industry.

Tony is a member of the Association of British Insurers.