£2m on of­fer for pro­jects to pro­tect crowds

The Guardian - - NATIONAL - Ione Wells

The gov­ern­ment is to make up to £2m avail­able for re­search into tech­nol­ogy and be­havioural sci­ence pro­jects that could iden­tify ter­ror­ists in crowds. Min­is­ters hope the money will gen­er­ate tech­niques to im­prove the sur­veil­lance and de­tec­tion of po­ten­tial threats.

“The threat from ter­ror does not stand still, so nei­ther will we, which is why we are call­ing on the best and the bright­est from the sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy sec­tor to come for­ward with their ideas and pro­pos­als to sup­port our on­go­ing work to keep peo­ple safe,” Ben Wal­lace, the se­cu­rity min­is­ter, is ex­pected to say as he an­nounces the fund­ing to­day.

“In light of the hor­rific at­tacks in Lon­don and Manch­ester, the gov­ern­ment has com­mit­ted to re­view its counter-ter­ror strat­egy,” Wal­lace will say. “We are mak­ing up to £2m avail­able to fund re­search into cut­ting-edge tech­nol­ogy and be­havioural sci­ence pro­jects de­signed to keep peo­ple safe in crowds.”

Counter-ter­ror agen­cies are run­ning 500 in­ves­ti­ga­tions in­volv­ing 3,000 in­di­vid­u­als at any one time as they con­front an un­prece­dented threat.

The new scheme will be run in a part­ner­ship be­tween the Home Of­fice and the De­fence and Se­cu­rity Ac­cel­er­a­tor, launched last year to seek se­cu­rity in­no­va­tions for the se­cu­rity ser­vices and po­lice, with sup­port from the Royal So­ci­ety.

Lucy Ma­son, head of the ac­cel­er­a­tor, said: “We must bring to­gether the bright­est minds from the pri­vate sec­tor and academia to help find so­lu­tions to help keep our coun­try and peo­ple safe and se­cure. By fund­ing and fast-track­ing the de­vel­op­ment of real so­lu­tions, we help to bring the in­no­va­tion com­mu­nity to­gether, rapidly.”

Ma­son en­cour­aged any­one with an idea to help keep crowded ar­eas safe to visit the ac­cel­er­a­tor web­site for more in­for­ma­tion.

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