Name Derek Forest OBE
Job Title Lecturer in Forensic Science (Part Time)
Faculty Faculty of Science and Engineering
School School of Sciences
Subject(s) Biology, Chemistry and Forensic Science
Tel +44(0) 7770 277309

Biology, Chemistry and Forensic Science

Derek retired from West Midlands Police in 2010 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 has 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 co-authored the International Tsunami Evaluation report and subsequent recommendations published to all 192 member states of the international community via the INTERPOL web site. He also co-authored the INTERPOL International DNA handbook which again was made available to law enforcement officers globally.

Since retirement from the police service, Derek 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.

In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Derek is also promoting the university through law enforcement agencies.

In January 2010, Derek was awarded an OBE for his services to policing in her Majesty’s New Year Honours List”

Disaster management and disaster response both strategic and tactical. Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) and Forensic management. Law enforcement process and procedures.

Derek Forest OBE is a member of the Emergency Planning Society. Furthermore, his work has gained an excellent international reputation and recognition where he has served as a keynote speaker for INTERPOL and numerous other law enforcement forensic conferences around the world.

  • INTERPOL International DNA Handbook
  • INTERPOL Tsunami Evaluation Report.