Defence and national security

How is science and technology helping to shape the work of counter terrorism professionals?


Defence and national security

Tracking incidents of both domestic and international terrorism is becoming increasingly vital. How is science and technology helping to shape and enhance the work of the counter terrorism professional community?

In 2022, Counter Terrorism Policing’s (CTP) Science and Technology Division launched the University Innovation Concept supported by the Home Office’s Accelerated Capability Environment (ACE). The purpose was to forge new links with UK universities to drive innovation and creativity when it comes to solving operational challenges. The programme aims to enhance existing networks and create new relationships between Counter Terrorism Policing and leading academics to harness research that could help enhance how they protect the UK against the terrorist threat.

"We are always looking for new ways to tackle operational challenges and for new ideas to help keep our communities safe. As we continue to see an ever-evolving terrorist threat, our own approach and response to that threat must also change. Science and technology is a vital element in that and we have some incredible teams working alongside investigators, officers and staff in this space.

The idea behind the University Innovation Concept is that we also have world-leading partnerships with academia, who can help us shape our own work and enhance what we do even further.

Whether we’re exploring radicalisation, how to create synthetic data, protecting against the challenges of emerging technologies, to supporting staff mental health, it’s important that we’re doing that effectively and efficiently.”

Sam Hepenstal, CTP's Head of Innovation

CSaP organised a series of workshops that brought together CTP representatives with academic experts from across a number of academic institutions. A workshop on bioterrorism focused on how CTP and academia could best exchange knowledge and share information – for example, through digital platforms, secondments and policy fellowships.

Further workshops looked at how to achieve better risk management to anticipate terrorist attacks and who will perpetrate them; and the opportunities and challenges for counter terrorism presented by 5G technology.

"The roundtables were highly regarded amongst the practitioners who participated, and the summary reports generated a great deal of interest and discussion across CTPHQ and our partners.”

Liam Cahill, Innovation Lead, Counter Terrorism Research Lab

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