The effective management of local, national and international security is one of the biggest challenges we face in today's world. The Crime and Security Research Institute’s response to this challenge is to work alongside security practitioners, combining existing academic excellence to foster creative and innovative conceptual and methodological approaches to shape policy and practice development.
One such concept is that of the ‘hackathon’. Developed primarily within the computer science discipline, it generally refers to a sprint-like design event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development collaborate on particular project over a short but intensive period.
Driven by its fellows from the Universities’ Police Science Institute and the Informatics and Visual Computing Research Group, the CSRI has developed the idea of applying the conceptual framework of the hackathon to day-to-day policing challenges. Working alongside police and other criminal justice and community safety partners, this short, intensive problem-solving approach is designed to provide an innovative and unique way for academics and practitioners to ‘co-produce’ potential solutions to the more intractable problems faced by today’s forces.
The UPSI and CSRI will co-host its first hackathon event with South Wales Police in the summer of 2018. The two organisations will work together to define a broad challenge which will become the focus of the problem-solving event. A number of teams composed of police officers and staff, other public-sector practitioner partners, private sector stakeholders and academics will work together over two days to apply their knowledge and experience to that problem. Firstly, they must identify the constituent issues and problems faced, before turning to the development of potential solutions.
The event will be held in a relaxed, offsite location where the teams can be allowed to devote their energies to applying the creative thinking required to address the challenge. Including an evening reception at the end of day one allows the opportunity for participants to network and exchange ideas with other teams and senior leaders from participating agencies and institutions.
The hackathon culminates in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style pitch, where each group presents their ideas and findings to a judging panel. The teams compete for a ‘cash’ prize which will provide the winning team with a dedicated budget to refine and develop their ideas further, guiding appropriate multi-disciplinary practice development and interventions within their respective organisations.
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If you or your organisation are interested in becoming involved in future hackathon events, please contact us here